Nov. 26th, 2011

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Venezuela Launches School for Human Rights & People’s Power

Last week, the Venezuelan Public Defender’s Office launched a school for human rights education that will be run by the state-funded Juan Vives Suria Foundation in Caracas and will carry out seminars in twelve of the country’s 23 states.

The new school will aim to “dismantle the liberal, reductionist, and individualist vision of human rights”, said Gabriela Ramirez, Venezuela’s chief public defender, during a press conference at the foundation, which is named after a Catholic Priest famed for his activism in defense of human rights.

“Our vision is not just to train the staff of the Public Defender’s Office, but rather to build an enduring culture of human rights, just as our constitution calls for, and that it be the communities themselves that have the capacity and the competence to defend their rights”, said Ramirez.

Social workers and community activists who have already been leading human rights campaigns or who have denounced human rights violations will be the initial participants in the school. While enrolment is free of charge, aspirant students must submit a proposal outlining a social problem in their community and how their human rights education will help them solve it. The school will also offer a certificate of training in the new Anti-Corruption Law for local advocates who can vigil the behaviour of government institutions and of their own communal councils.MORE

Venezuela has got issues but I am really curious as to what comes out of this.
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Tunisian forces tear gas protesters: Tear gas fired and live ammunition shot into the air to disperse protesters in the town of Kasserine

Tunisian security forces have used teargas and fired live ammunition into the air to disperse a crowd of more than 3,000 protesters in central-west Tunisia, official and union sources said.

Wednesday's violence in the town of Kasserine took place as members of Tunisia's interim government formally resigned following the formation of the country's first-ever elected constituent assembly.

Protesters said that they took to the streets because they felt the country's new authorities had failed to recognise local people's contribution to a revolution earlier this year which inspired the "Arab Spring" uprisings.

The clashes underlined the tough task facing the new government, elected in the country's first democratic vote last month, in meeting expectations for jobs and better living standards in poor provincial towns.

"Young men are burning tyres in the street," one resident, Bouraoui Sadaoui, told the Reuters news agency from the town, which is about 300km southwest of the capital, Tunis. "They are throwing rocks and surrounding the town jail.

"They want to set fire to the prison ... The military fired into the air and are using tear gas to disperse the people," he said. "Several people have been injured by tear gas."MORE

Back to Tahrir Square

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Unfinished Revolution:An interview with Sherif Joseph Rizk, Yehia El Gammal and Shahira Abouellail

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The second wave of the Revolution has come back to Tahrir Square. After the massive demonstration on Friday, 18 November 2011, calling for an end to military rule, about 200 people, mainly family members of martyrs who died in the January 25 uprisings and people who were previously injured, staged a sit-in at Tahrir Square. Central Security Forces and Egyptian military police violently dismantled the sit-in, and since then, thousands have come together to reoccupy Tahrir Square. The police and military continue to attack protesters with live bullets, extremely potent tear gas and invisible gas, bird shot, rubber bullets and other ammunition.

As of Thursday 24 November 2011, the Egyptian Ministry of Health has confirmed at least 38 dead and thousands wounded. The protesters vow to continue their occupation of Tahrir Square until the ruling military council, or SCAF, steps down. Protests against ongoing military rule are happening throughout Egypt, and security forces and the military are reacting violently to those protests as well.


Guardian Live Blog: Blogging the Uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa

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Recall that a couple of days ago, Yemen's pres finally decided to step down after 33 years in power: Yemen's president steps down

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Opinion: Tides of the Arab revolutions

As calls for intervention increase, ask not who will replace dictators and when, ask what replaces the regimes and how.

Read more... ) BAHRAIN Thousands march in Bahrain to protest against gov't re: report thatpointed out that torture, rape and other nasty methods were used to suppress the uprising earlier this year. Also, pointed out that the uprisees had legitimate grievances.


Nov. 26th, 2011 11:05 pm
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Yemen presidential vote set for Feb. 21; Saleh returns home


Gambia's Jammeh wins disputed elections: Incumbent president in power for 17 years set to begin new five-year term after polls marred by intimidation of voters.



Deadly clashes in DRC capital ahead of vote: At least three people killed in Kinshasa as rival campaign rallies are concluded ahead of Monday's vote

DR Congo voters: What elections mean to us: Citizens in eastern DRC tell Al Jazeera why they are looking forward to national elections on November 28.

Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo - In the lead up to the Democratic Republic of Congo’s second general election since independence in 1960, most analysts have raised the alarm over poor logistical arrangements as well as significant security concerns, due to the continued presence of armed groups in the eastern parts of the country.

Nevertheless, many ordinary citizens of the DRC are looking forward to the elections.

For many, the elections offer a rare opportunity to play a role in who should govern the country, and direct the next phase of their fragile democracy's development.

Al Jazeera’s Azad Essa speaks to residents of Goma and Walikale, both in the North Kivu province in the eastern DRC about why these elections means so much to them.MORe

Who's up? Profile: Joseph Kabila ... Incumbent president is credited for bringing peace but critics say he lacks political vision to lead DRC forward.

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Profile: Etienne Tshisekedi :After three decades in politics, the veteran is widely regarded as the biggest threat to incumbent Joseph Kabila.

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Explainer: The DRC elections...DR Congo gears up for only its second national election since independence in 1960 amid fears of violence.

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The Martha manifesto: An Ethiopian woman's dream

An image of Martha Mebrahtu

I have just finished reading ‘Terarochin Yanketekete Tiwild’ (The Generation that Shook the Mountains), a compilation of biographies of some of Ethiopia's revolutionaries of the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s – young minds that passionately fought against injustice, inequality and oppression, and eventually brought down King Haile Sellasie and dictator Mengistu Hailemariam. Among those amazing, selfless martyrs mentioned in the book is Martha Mebrahtu whose tragic murder not only angered but also inspired thousands of young men and women who stood up and waged a bitter struggle for democracy and gave Ethiopia's oppressed the chance to finally see light at the end of the tunnel.

Martha was the daughter of a brigadier-general who hailed from the province of Eritrea (Eritrea was then part of Ethiopia). She was a beautiful and intelligent medical student at Haile Sellasie I University (now Addis Abeba University) back in the 1970s (or 1960s in the Ethiopian calendar). She entered college when she was only 15 years old. And a few months away from graduating, the government murdered her.

In addition to her academic excellence, Martha was an elected president of the university's medical students' association; one of the fiercest critics of the feudal system that exploited the poor (some years after she died, her father admitted that she always challenged and criticised him for being a part of an oppressive system); an advocate for women's rights (her peers affectionately called her the Angela Davis of Ethiopia); and an active member of the then fledgling university students movement, which gradually matured and became Emperor Haile Sellasie's worst nightmare.

Martha was born in Addis Ababa and as a young girl she had a chance to study in Nigeria and to visit the US as an exchange student. Her US exposure as a high school student, in particular, introduced her to the civil rights and feminist movements, the reasons of the movements and the individuals who spearheaded them, such as Angela Davis. Upon her return and later on joining the university, it was obvious that she would become a passionate advocate for social change.
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Interview with Gioconda Mota: The Fight for Abortion in Venezuela

According to results from the latest poll by GIS XXI, titled ‘Sociology of preferences’, 87% of those consulted, 2000 people, are against teenage abortion.

These results became the basis of an article published in Diario Panorama (footnote 2) against the legalisation of free and voluntary abortion. The article collects a range of opinions through information networks and “representatives’ elected by the people.

Through the National System of Public Media, (SNMP) Venezuelan women are made visible through campaigns such as ‘To the heat of faith’, while the fight for their right to health and to life receives less space on the screen.

Although it is fair to say that a campaign was recently begun towards the prevention of teenage pregnancy, that doesn’t mean that they support the legalisation of free and voluntary abortion, just the opposite, some distinguished spokespeople operate against this socialist struggle.

For Gioconda Mota (footnote 1), teacher and director of the only feminist program broadcast on SNMP, the question raised by the GISXX survey was directed to what is most sensitive in society.

Moto believes that in a certain way, the survey “forces people into a certain position - do you think this problem is solved by abortion?’ And obviously the answer was no”.

But free and voluntary abortion is least common amongst teenagers, something proven by studies carried out in the Mexican capital where abortion is legal.

“For those of us who promote its legalisation, abortion is NOT a contraceptive method,” said Giocanda Mota, explaining that the possibility of unwanted pregnancies is huge and that “they are going to keep occurring”.

“Unwanted pregnancies aren’t just a product of rapes, but also of the irresponsible use of contraceptives, the correct use of contraceptive methods, as well as from situations of interfamily sexual abuse. More than 90% of rapes occur within the family, something that no one talks about.”
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