Mitchell: Peace plan to include Syria, Lebanon

October 29, 2009
Ijaz Inayat
Rt. Rev. Ijaz Inayat

The regional agreement that the Obama administration is trying to push forward is not only about peace between Israel and the Palestinians, but also peace between Israel and both Syria and Lebanon, local daily The Jerusalem Post cited U.S. special Middle East envoy George Mitchell as reporting Thursday. 

Mitchell made the remarks during his meeting Wednesday with opposition leader Tzipi Livni that concluded two days of meetings in Israel and the Palestinian National Authority. 

After meeting with Livni, the Kadima chairwoman, Mitchell flew to Cairo. From there he will go to Lebanon on Thursday, and then continue on to Damascus Friday and Saturday for his first meetings there since taking up his position in January. 

While the State Department’s Jeffrey Feltman and the U.S. National Security Council’s Dan Shapiro have traveled to Syria twice since U.S. President Barack Obama was sworn into office in January, this will be Mitchell’s first visit to Damascus and — according to diplomatic sources — indicates an interest in involving Syria in the new U.S.-propelled process. 

Though the Bush administration appeared not too keen on encouraging Israeli-Syrian ties, it seems U.S. President Barack Obama thinks differently. 

Before Mitchell’s visit, Syrian President Bashar Assad sent out signals that he was interested in renewing negotiations with Israel through the Turks, said The Jerusalem Post. 

After Israel launched military offensive against the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip in late December, Syria formally suspended indirect peace talks with the Jewish state which began last May under the mediation of Turkey. 

Syria has said it would resume indirect peace talks with Israel’ s Netanyahu government as long as they focused on a complete Israeli withdrawal from the Golan Heights, a strategic plateau Israel seized in 1967 and annexed in 1981 with no recognition of the international community. 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who had appeared cool to the idea of resuming stalled peace talks with Syria and has repeatedly voiced opposition to withdrawing from the Golan Heights, said on May 20 that his country was ready to immediately open peace talks with Syria without preconditions. 

Netanyahu made the remarks to reporters at Ben-Gurion Airport after three days of talks in Washington, including meeting with Obama. 

“I said I was ready to immediately open peace talks with the Palestinians, by the way, with the Syrians as well, of course, without preconditions,” said the prime minister, adding “But I made it clear that any peace settlement there must find a solution to Israel’s security needs.” 

Despite the U.S. interest, the Syrian signals and Netanyahu’s words, the Syrian track is not expected to play a prominent place in Netanyahu’s anxiously awaited speech on Sunday at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies at Bar-Ilan University. 

It is not yet known whether the indirect peace talks between Israel and Syria could be resumed anytime soon. 

“Between Israel and Syria it’s all about confidence-building measures, ways to break the ice, because there is a large element of distrust and as long as there is no real belief in the true intentions of the other side, it’s impossible to negotiate,” Ronen Hoffman, an expert in strategy and tactics in political negotiations, told Xinhua.

 

 

Who will authorize the rebuilding of the Third Temple – The Islamic Mahdi, The Sanhedrin or A Prophet?

October 29, 2009
Rt. Rev. Ijaz Inayat

Bishop of Karachi - Church of Pakistan

 

Rt. Rev. Ijaz Inayat, the Bishop of Karachi Diocess – Church of Pakistan sent this post.

 

 

 

 A new Jewish interfaith initiative launched last week argues building the Third Jewish Temple in Jerusalem would not necessitate the destruction of the Dome of the Rock. 

“God’s Holy Mountain Vision” project hopes to defuse religious strife by showing that Jews’ end-of-days vision could harmoniously accommodate Islam’s present architectural hegemony on the Temple Mount. 

“This vision of religious shrines in peaceful proximity can transform the Temple Mount from a place of contention to its original sacred role as a place of worship shared by Jews, Muslims and Christians,” said Yoav Frankel, director of the initiative. 

The Interfaith Encounter Association at the Mishkenot Sha’ananim’s Konrad Adenauer Conference Center in Jerusalem is sponsoring the program, which includes interfaith study and other educational projects. 

According to Islamic tradition, the Dome of the Rock, built in 691, marks the spot where Muhammed ascended to Heaven. 

But according to Jewish tradition, Mount Moriah, now under the Dome of the Rock, is where the Temple’s Holy of Holies was situated. 

Until now Jewish tradition has assumed that destruction of the Dome of the Rock was a precondition for the building of the third and last Temple. 

However, in an article that appeared in 2007 in Tehumin, an influential journal of Jewish law, Frankel, a young scholar, presented a different option. 

His main argument is that Jewish doctrine regarding the rebuilding of the Temple emphasizes the role of a prophet. 

This prophet would have extraordinary authority, including the discretion to specify the Temple’s precise location, regardless of any diverging Jewish traditions. 

Frankel considers the scenario of a holy revelation given to an authentic prophet that the Temple be rebuilt on the current or an extended Temple Mount in peaceful proximity to the dome and other houses of prayer such as the Aksa Mosque and nearby Christian shrines. 

However, both Muslims and Jews have expressed opposition to the initiative. 

Sheikh Abdulla Nimar Darwish, founder of the Islamic Movement in Israel, said it was pointless to talk about what would happen when the mahdi, the Muslim equivalent of the messiah, would reveal himself. 

“Why are we taking upon ourselves the responsibility to decide such things?” Darwish said in a telephone interview with The Jerusalem Post. “Even Jews believe that it is prohibited to rebuild the Temple until the messiah comes. So what is there to talk about. 

“The mahdi will decide whether or not to rebuild the Temple. If he decides that it should be rebuilt, I will go out to the Temple Mount and help carry the rocks.” 

Darwish warned against any attempt to rebuild the Temple before the coming of the mahdi. 

“As long as there is a Muslim alive, no Jewish Temple will be built on Al-Haram Al-Sharif [the Temple Mount]. The status quo must be maintained, otherwise there will be bloodshed.” 

In contrast, Baruch Ben-Yosef, chairman of the Movement to Restore the Temple, made it clear that the Temple had to be built where the Dome of the Rock presently stands. 

“Anybody who says anything else simply does not know what he is talking about,” he said. “A prophet does not have the power to change the law which explicitly states the location of the Temple.” 

Ben-Yosef also rejected the idea that rebuilding of the Temple had to be done by a prophet. 

“All you need is a Sanhedrin,” he said. 

Mainstream Orthodox rabbis have opposed attempts to rebuild the Temple since the Mount came under Israeli control in 1967. 

The Chief Rabbinate of Israel even issued a decree prohibiting Jews from entering the area due to ritual purity issues. 

However, several grassroots organizations such as the Movement to Restore the Temple, and maverick rabbis, including Rabbi Israel Ariel, head of the capital’s Temple Institute and a leading member of the revived Sanhedrin led by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz, have called to take steps to renew the sacrifices on the Temple Mount and rebuild the Temple.

Pakistan: What to do about Religious Fundamentalism?

October 28, 2009

spokesperson - Labour Party Pakistan

 

 

 

let’s deal with the ISI [Pakistani intelligence agency] and the Pakistan military and let’s go recruit these mujahideen. Here is a very strong argument which is… it wasn’t a bad investment to end the Soviet Union but let’s be careful with what we sow… because we will harvest.”  Hillary Clinton (23 April 2009)

  

Once again Pakistan has become the focus of world attention. Every day there is news about the latest suicide attack or military operations, with killings, injuries and displaced communities. Lately schools were ordered closed for over a week. Even children talk about death and suicidal attacks.

 

With over 125 police checkpoints in Islamabad, it has become a fortress city. Lahore and other large cities suffer the same fate: there are police road blockades everywhere. After each terrorist attack authorities issue another security high alert and set up additional barriers. How ironic that, until recently, officials and the media described these “terrorists” as Mujahidin fighting for an Islamic world.

 

Under immense pressure by Obama administration, the Pakistan government has launched a series of military operations in various parts of the country. This has lead to an unprecedented wave of killings, with hundreds of thousands more forced to leave their home for temporary shelter.

 

Pushed out of Afghanistan after 9/11, religious fanatics from different nationalities have found refuge in Pakistan. They have two aims: to make Pakistan more Islamic and to teach the government a lesson for its close relationship with American imperialism. However the price is paid by ordinary people.

 

Religious fanatics’ are new fascist. They believe in the physical elimination of their political opponents. Although they may appear to be anti-imperialist, they are not a progressive force. Instead they are an extreme right-wing force that wants to turn back the clock of the history.

 

The religion of the state

Pakistan is also known as Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Religion is part and parcel of the state. The constitutions and the judiciary are all beleaguered with Islamic demagogy. Most of the educational syllabus is also colored with Islamic ideology; even scientific explanations somehow manage to drag in religion.

 

Religion has become a way of life. Every donation to charity ends up in coffers of the religious institutions. Life without religion is unthinkable.

 

Although the only rational for the Pakistani state is to be a place for Muslims, it was to be a secular Muslim state. When the state was formed in 1947 the population was not fundamentalist. But as time went on Pakistan adopted an Islamic ideology that today gives these fanatics a more favorable ground for the promotion of their dream of an Islamic country.

 

At the end of the 1970s, with the Russian invasion of Afghanistan, Washington decided it needed to develop an indigenous counter force. In order to fight “communism” in Afghanistan, Washington worked closely with Pakistan’s military dictator, General Zia Ul Haque, and the Pakistani intelligence, the Inter-Services intelligence (ISI). There are dozens of books explaining the rise of Taliban and Mujahedeen under the direct guidance of the Americans, but the ISI had no reason to cut off the funding after the Soviet retreat in 1987. If the Americans were no longer interested in these guerillas, the ISI found these jihadis useful in its conflict with India over Kashmir.

Second, there are many religious political parties in Pakistan. Jamaati islami and Jamiat Ulmai Islam, along with other Sunni and Wahabi political parties, are all for an Islamic revolution. They also give a political support to the religious fanatics of Taliban and Alqaida.

 

Hillary Clinton admits American role

Even Hillary Clinton, the US foreign secretary, acknowledged Washington’s responsibility in promoting the religious fanatics. Here is her admission to a US Congressional sub-committee on April 23, 2009, that the Americans had effectively created the current disastrous situation in Afghanistan:

 

“It was President Reagan in partnership with Congress led by Democrats who said you know what it sounds like a pretty good idea… let’s deal with the ISI [Pakistani intelligence agency] and the Pakistan military and let’s go recruit these mujahideen. Here is a very strong argument which is… it wasn’t a bad investment to end the Soviet Union but let’s be careful with what we sow… because we will harvest.”

  

However, it is not only Americans that are harvesting what they have sown. Numerous Pakistani governments were ready to do whatever the Americans wanted them out of sheer financial greed. Since 1978 the different governments have all been a close US allies. This includes 20 years of military dictatorship under Zia (1977-1988) and General Musharaf (1999-2008). These various governments enabled the religious fanatics to establish religious educational institutions that have changed the country’s religious culture.

 

The Madrasas’ tactics

One of the main strategies used by the religious fanatics to bring jihad to the youth of Pakistan was through opening religious schools (madrasas). They mushroomed under the General Zia ul Haque dictatorship. At present, there are religious schools throughout Pakistan. Of the more than 15,000 registered madrasas, about half are in the Punjab. Experts estimate the numbers are higher: when the state tried to count them in 2005, a fifth of the area in the province refused to register.

 

The madrasas found a place among the working people as they were marketed as offering a free education with religious teachings. In fact, failure of the government to provide adequate resources for free public education paved the way for the progress of the madrasas. Pakistan has one of the lowest literacy rates in the world. The government spends less than 3 percent on education. Only about half of Pakistanis can read and write, far below the proportion to countries with a similar per-capita income, such as Vietnam. According to UNESCO, one out of three school-age Pakistani children does not attend school; of those who do attend, a third drop out by the fifth grade. The enrollment of girls is among the lowest in the world, lagging behind Ethiopia and Yemen.

 

Though madrasas make up only about 7 percent of primary schools in Pakistan, their influence are amplified by the inadequacy of public education and the innate religiosity of the countryside, where two-thirds of the population lives. These madrasas are the real breeding grounds for religious fundamentalism.

 

More than 15,000 registered religious seminaries in the country cater to more than 1.5 million students and over 55,000 teachers. Before 2002, according to the Religious Affairs Ministry, the number of registered madrasas in Pakistan were not more than 6,000. After 9/11, the religious fanatics who left Afghanistan came to Pakistan and with the help of the two provincial governments of religious alliance MMA, North West Frontier Province and Baluchistan; they were able to quickly establish more madrasas. By 2007 there were around 13,000 registered seminaries across the country. At this time General Musharaf was a partner in the so-called “Alliance against terrorism.” He was manipulating both the fanatics and the imperialists.

 

By March 2009, the number of registered madrasas in Pakistan reached 15,725.

 

The growth of religious fanatics

The partnership of religious fanatics with American and the Pakistani intelligence agencies went unchecked until 9/11. Then the whole scenario shifted. The Mujahedeen was labeled terrorist and America wanted a military solution to the growth of religious fundamentalism.

 

The growth of religious fundamentalism was not only the result of the American and Pakistani intelligence agencies but also the complete failure of the civilian and military governments to solve any of the basic problems of the working class and its allies. Successive regimes have been unable to end the grip of feudalism, the absolute exploitive nature of Pakistani capitalists and their humiliating treatment of workers and farmers, the repression of smaller nationalities and exploitation of natural resources they possessed.

 

The ruling class has failed miserably to bring about democratic norms. That is why whenever the civilian government was overthrown by a military dictatorship, the vast majority of the masses did not offer any resistance to dictatorship.

 

Establishing Islamic courts

The present civil government of the Pakistan Peoples Party has been contradictory in dealing with religious fanatics. In the Swat area, they have gone from peace talks to agreements with the fanatics to establish Islamic courts. The religious forces were decisively defeated during the general elections of 2008. Where in the 2002 general elections they received 15 percent of the vote, in 2008 they got less than three percent.

 

Just after the 2008 general elections, when the masses had rejected the religious forces, instead of a mass mobilization to end religious fundamentalism, the present regime opted for negotiations. This gave the fanatics an incentive to go further: they demanded Sharia laws in the Malakand division. This was accepted and an agreement signed. It was real boost for the religious fundamentalists who then went further in their attempt to control more areas and therefore giving an impression that they were not far from Islamabad.

 

In a panic, the regime, with full support of the Americans, went for a full military operation in the Malakand division in June 2009. The result was over 3.5 million internally displaced people and over 5000 killings. The present government boasted a military victory over the fundamentalists and then asked people to go back home. But this was not the army’s military victory but a temporary retreat of the fanatics. Able to save their infrastructure, the fanatics did what Afghan Taliban did during the October 2001 military attack. That too was a military retreat, only to re-emerge later.

 

The celebration of a military victory over the religious fanatics had not last even one month before the fanatics were able to attack the military’s general headquarters, the famous GHQ, along with several police training centers in different parts of the country during the month of October 2009. This month was seen as the bloodiest with killings on both sides.  

 

Saying there was no other option, many liberals in Pakistan have supported the military actions against the religious fanatics. But no military solution can eliminate the religious fundamentalists. It has been the case of Afghanistan and so it will be in Pakistan. It can only push them back to other areas. The religious fundamentalists have used the tactics of urban terrorism. An urban terrorism cannot be eliminated by invading areas considered to be under fundamentalists’ control. Military actions in Malakand division and now in Wazirestan have pushed the fanatics to other parts of Pakistan.

 

The fallacy of short-term and long-term strategies

Military solution has been presented as an immediate step to the ultimate solution to fight against fundamentalism. It is like the old Stalinist theory of minimum and maximum goals. “Demand minimum to get the maximum” was the philosophy. It was known as minimum and maximum stage of revolution. In social circles, this is been presented short-term and long-term strategies.  For them, military solution is a short-term strategy while the long-term strategy requires reforms and more development. But this is all false; it will not solve anything. This is just an excuse to please American imperialism.

 

There is no in between the short-term and long-term strategies. If the fight against religious fanatics has to go forward, it must begin with a revolutionary programme. It had to start with the political will to separate religion from the state. It has to deal with the question of the nature of Pakistani state. Religion cannot become the basis of a nation. Pakistan’s two nation theories were torn apart by the events of the ‘60s and ‘70s when Bangladesh came into existence. Now a more severe crisis is erupting in Baluchistan over similar lines. There is strong movement developing that calls for the independence of Baluchistan.

 

A whole package

There has to be a concrete programme to fight religious fundamentalism. It has to combine an immediate dealing with the suicidal attacks and curbing the activities of the fascist forces from their strongholds along with an overall plan of action in economic, political and social fields. This should include the nationalization of religious madrasas and retraining of teachers. It should include an immediate increase in workers’ wages in both the private and public sector to at least 12,000 Rupees a month.

 

All discriminatory laws must go and all citizens of Pakistan should enjoy equal constitutional status. At present there are several laws that make religious minorities second-rate citizens. The government should be committed to fully back local resistance to the religious fanatic. Civil society organizations in the stronghold of the religious fundamentalists should be given full backing by the state so that they can function. The state must help to strengthen and sustain the local defense committees to fight the religious fanatics.

 

All trade union rights must be restored in all the public and private sector with full freedom of speech and gatherings. The present civilian seeks military solutions. Most of the discriminatory laws are still intact, including the blasphemy laws. The government has no plan to do away with these discriminatory laws promulgated under military dictatorships so the organizations of civil society must demand governmental action to restore rights.

 

The forces of religious fundamentalism organize on an international basis. A fight against them has to be organized at that same level. The Americans’ “war on terror” is fueling more religious fundamentalism. It is seen as a war on Muslims. The occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan by the imperialist forces is providing the religious fanatics a political justification for their terrorist activities.

 

Clearly occupation must end. The campaign to end the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan and no support to the fanatics can be the basis for a united action of progressive forces internationally. The campaign against religious fundamentalism must be part and parcel of an anti-globalization campaign by all progressive forces.

We must oppose both occupation and religious fundamentalism.

 

No support to one against the other. The fight between the religious fundamentalism and the imperialists is a fight between bulls. There is not much to gain in siding with one against the other, but to end the fight and open the space to create an alternative way of living.

 

Farooq Tariq spokesperson
Labour Party Pakistan

Pakistan: Will a corrupt judiciary, corrupt civil politcians and a rotten system will give justice to a 16 years old girl raped by strong PML-Q leaders?

October 23, 2009
Former President of National Students Federation

Former President of National Students Federation

 KOWLEDGE       STRUGGLE       VICTORY

I am writing to express my deep concern regarding the inaction by
Saddar police regarding the gang rape of a 16-year-old girl. I am
horrified to hear that officers are instead supporting an illegal out
of court settlement with those accused.

According to Miss Ruby Perveen, she was kidnapped at gunpoint and gang
raped by five men, some of whom had been following and taunting her
for a number of days. Three of the men – Mr. Qiaser Shahzad, Mr.
Adeel Shahzad and Mr. Irshad (known as Shada) – are the sons of a
powerful landlord, who leads the local PML-Q, a political party. Her
father claims that he alerted emergency services but could not get
police assistance. The next day Ruby was found semi conscious at a bus
stand in Shumali (North) Sargodha.

I understand that Ruby’s mother Ramzan Bibi was not able to get help
from the Saddar police until she asked for the help of an assembly
member, and registered FIR 615/09. Yet no arrests were made and the
family later discovered that some of the accused men had applied for
and been granted interim bail from Mr. Samar Hyat Gondal, the
Additional Session Judge in Sargodha on 22 October. This appears to
have been granted with little consideration for the victim and I have
been told that the FIR was not presented to the judge, who simply
accepted the accused men’s promise that an out of court settlement was
being arranged. One perpetrator, Qaiser Shahzad, did not consider it
necessary to apply for such bail, and no attempts have been made to
arrest him.

Officers involved have claimed that a settlement is being arranged but
Ruby’s family have reported that they do not want to settle and have
not been given that option. Such a settlement would be clearly illegal
under Pakistan law. I am shocked that it is being entertained.

Furthermore, the medical checkup for the victim was not automatically
ordered, as the law requires. The family pursued the check up and DNA
test themselves, which was authorised by Dr Usman Anwer, the district
police officer (DPO) in Sargodha. Yet though a DNA test should also be
carried out on the accused, the suspects have not been tested and
police have told that such a test is not necessary due to the
upcoming settlement.

As you must be aware, immeasurable damage is done to the rule of law
and the complaints procedure when monetary settlement becomes an
acceptable response to crime, and when victims can be pressured and
threatened into settling cases. As the rape of a minor, this crime
should also have warranted extra care, responsibility and a sense of
particular urgency from the judge and the local police, none of whom
appear to have acted in accordance with the Convention on the Rights
of the Child, ratified by Pakistan in 1990.

Finally I hear that journalists have complained that they have been
pressured into withdrawing negative coverage of the case by PML-Q
members, which is a matter that deserves serious attention.

I urge that this case be taken swiftly through the appropriate legal
channels and that protection and redress is provided for the young
rape victim and her family. The first clear step would be to arrest
those who she has accused of her rape, regardless of the political
power they may wield. Please also ensure that the negligent officers
in this case be thoroughly investigated and disciplined or charged
accordingly.

I urge Chief Justice of Pakistan to take a strict action against the Bench Officers who have made law a joke for the litigants and yet have kept the the justice hostage in the hnads of the powerful people.

I also wanted to urge to the Prime Minister and the Mr. Rehman Malik, But I feel that their is no need of it as they have much more things to do other than the actual issues being born by the people.

I wanted t urge my appeal to the Chief Minister Punjab, but whe I see that the victims of Patoki Case are at large under their protection, probably they also won’t have much time for a gang raped child.

So I urge the people opf Pakistan toi undestand these so called civil political leaders, who can not see beyon the tip of their nose. I urge the people of Pakistan to uite against these exploiting classes and le them know that we the people are the real power who can bring justice to this system.

PHILIPPINES: Military style intimidation tactics are being used

October 23, 2009
Former President National Students Federation

Former President National Students Federation

KNOWLEDGE                               STRUGGLE                                   VICTORY

I am writing to voice my deep concern regarding the surveillance and
intimidation tactics being used against volunteers at the Cebu Center
for Trade Union and Human Rights (CTUHR) by men that are suspected to
be from the military.

I have learnt that since late September various men have been taking
pictures and videos of people coming in and out of the CTUHR Cebu
Center in Lapu-lapu city, (Visayas island). It is alleged that these
men, suspected to be military and who appear to be armed, have been
taking turns watching the only entry to and exit from the CTUHR
private compound.

On October 2 a volunteer and human rights defender at CTUHR who
assists workers of the nearby Mactan Export Processing Zone (MEPZ) and
who works with victims of demolitions in the surrounding zone,
reported that a man sat outside for about half day at a table, taking
photographs of people coming in and out of the office. . Late that
night the volunteer was called to by three men near the compound,
raising his fears that he was being targeted.

CTUHR Workers Center started operation in April this year, but its
staff and volunteers have facilitated training and basic human rights
education
. The Center also supports the activities of Unity for
Workers Rights (U4WR) – an organization of workers and workers rights
advocates which was established in February this year.

Considering the lamentably long and strong history of violence waged
by the state against human rights defenders and labour rights
activists in the Philippines, I am sure you understood the threat
posed by any kind of military-style surveillance techniques. Please
ensure the protection and support of these civilians by initiating
thorough investigations into the threat.

I strongly urge the gvernment of Philippines to take a strict action and urge our Foreign Minister to bring this on a diplomatic level. 

Plus I suggest all my friends to PLEASE SEND YOUR LETTERS TO:

1. Mrs. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo

President

Republic of the Philippines

Malacanang Palace

JP Laurel Street, San Miguel

Manila 1005

PHILIPPINES

Fax: +63 2 736 1010

Tel: +63 2 735 6201 / 564 1451 to 80

E-mail: corres@op.gov.ph <mailto:corres@op.gov.ph>

2. Ms. Leila De Lima

Commissioner

Commission on Human Rights

SAAC Bldg., Commonwealth Avenue

U.P. Complex, Diliman

Quezon City

PHILIPPINES

Fax: +63 2 929 0102

Tel: +63 2 928 5655 / 926 6188

E-mail: chr.delima@yahoo.com <mailto:chr.delima@yahoo.com>
or mtm_rodulfo@yahoo.com <mailto:mtm_rodulfo@yahoo.com>

3. Deputy Director General Jesus A. Verzosa

Chief, Philippine National Police (PNP)

Camp General Rafael Crame

Quezon City

PHILIPPINES

Fax: +63 2724 8763

Tel: +63 2 726 4361/4366/8763

E-mail: ruth_cossid@yahoo.com <mailto:ruth_cossid@yahoo.com>

4. Ms. Agnes Devanadera

Secretary

Department of Justice (DoJ)

DOJ Bldg., Padre Faura

1004 Manila

PHILIPPINES

Fax: +63 2 521 1614

E-mail: raulgonzalez_doj@yahoo.com <mailto:raulgonzalez_doj@yahoo.com>

5. Lieutenant General Victor S. Ibrado

Chief of Staff

Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP)

AFP-GHQ Offices, Camp Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo

Quezon City

PHILIPPINES

Fax: +63 2 911 6436

Tel: +63 2 911 6001 to 50

6. Mr. Emilio Gonzalez

Deputy Ombudsman

Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for the Military

and Other Law Enforcement Offices

3rd Floor, Ombudsman Bldg., Agham Road, Diliman

1104 Quezon City

PHILIPPINES

Fax: +63 2 926 8747

Tel: +63 2 926 9032

Thank you.

Malaysia: Stop the Repatriation of the Sri Lankan Refugees Now

October 21, 2009
Former President of National Students Federation

Former President of National Students Federation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

KNOWLEDGE                                 STRUGGLE                            VICTORY 

I am writing to express my outrage and strongest condemnation over Malaysian government’s reported treatment of Sri Lankan refugees in Malaysia.

I am appalled by Malaysian government and the Immigration Departmen’s latest action to allow the Sri Lankan Embassy to access Sri Lankan refugees who are detained at your detention centres. This is an outright violation of the right to seek asylum as enshrined under Article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This is also an outright violation of the international customary law of non-refoulement, which prohibits the return of people to places where they may face persecution or threats to their life or freedoms

I demand that the 108 Sri Lankan refugees detained at Pekan Nanas Immigration Detention Centre are released immediately into the custody of UNHCR, and that the UNHCR is given immediate and free access to register the remaining 14 asylum seekers detained at Simpang Renggam.

I also demand that the Malaysian Government take measures protect the rights of refugees and asylum seekers who are currently in Malaysia and fully respect the principle of non-refoulement, as recommended by the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC), two UN Conventions of which Malaysia is party to.

I strongly urge Malaysian Government, once again, to stop bringing shame to Malaysia and to ratify 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and the 1967 Protocol.

I strogly urge Foreign Minister of Pakistan, Mr. Shah Mahmodd Qureshi to register a visible protest against Malaysian Government and do needful to secure law and bring justice to Srilankan Refugees.

Karl Marx
From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs.
Karl Marx

BURMA: Two men and a woman are illegally jailed for allegedly getting money from abroad

October 20, 2009
Former President of National Students Federation

Former President of National Students Federation

KNOWLEDGE                    STRUGGLE                           VICTORY

 
While the government of  Burma was releasing a few wrongly detained
persons from its jails in September, authorities were arresting and
prosecuting more. 

In September the government in Burma released thousands of people from
the prisons. But at the same time other cases were going on in the courts,
including a case against Sein Hlaing, Shwegyoe and Myint Myint Soe
under the Unlawful Associations Act.

The Special Branch police arrested the three detainees back in March
on the grounds that they had received money from someone at a group
based in Thailand – someone who has been prosecuted in absentia.
However the police didn’t have any firm material evidence against the
accused. Instead they held them in custody for almost six months and
allegedly tortured them to extract so-called evidence, which they
presented to the court.

Even then, all that police presented was that about USD15,000 had
supposedly been transferred to the detainees from abroad – not for
political activities but for social welfare. This includes assisting
the families of people who had been imprisoned and transferred to
jails in remote parts of the country, so that the families could visit
and take them food and medicines, which are essential for long-term
survival in the jails of Burma.

When the case finally came to court in September, the lawyers for the
defendants pointed out that their clients had been kept in custody
illegally. Police could give no explanation. The investigating officer
refused to even say where he had interrogated them, on the grounds
that it is ‘secret’ information. Neither could he explain why it had
taken more than five months to lodge a case in the court, even though,
as he acknowledged, the accused should have been brought before a
judge within 24 hours, then kept on remand.

The police could not, or refused to answer other basic questions about
the case, such as the date that it had been opened or who the officer
was who gave the order to start the investigation. They could not give
any details about the person in Thailand who had sent the money, even
though these facts are very important to the trial because he is the
one who allegedly belongs to the unlawful group on which the case
hinges.

I am very disappointed to hear that even while the Government of
Myanmar was authorizing the release of thousands of
prisoners–including many arbitrarily or unlawfully detained
persons–in September 2009, the courts were trying even more persons
for alleged crimes of association, including three persons who
supposedly had contact with a fourth abroad, who has been prosecuted
in absentia.

According to the information that I have received, Sein Hlaing is
accused of receiving money from E Bhar, who is allegedly a member of
the National League for Democracy-Liberated Area (NLD-LA). The money
allegedly came via Shwegyoe from 12 October 2008 to 2 March 2009 and
totaled 15 million Kyat (USD 15,000), some of which Sein Hlaing and
Shwegyoe used for their own expenses and the remainder of which was
transferred to the NLD social aid group. In November Myint San
obtained 1.7 million Kyat (USD 1700) of that money and distributed it
to families of detainees whom the authorities had transferred to
remote prisons, to help them with their expenses for visits and other
affairs.

From these basic facts of the case alone there is no obvious offence,
as any money received was being used for social welfare and not for
political or ‘terrorist’ activities as the police alleged. Furthermore
I have learned that there are a number of glaring violations of the
law in this case, and abuses of the detainees’ fundamental human
rights. In particular,

1. Illegal detention: The first three accused were arrested on 6 March
2009. They were transferred to Insein Central Prison on 13 May 2009.
The case against them opened on 26 August 2009. The charge was finally
lodged only on 10 September 2009. At no time in the period from 6
March to 26 August was there a judicial order to allow for their
detention, in violation of section 61, Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC).
The accused allege that from 13 March to 12 May the police held them
illegally at the Aungthapyay Interrogation Facility in Mayangone
Township. When asked about this in court Inspector Kyaw Soe first
refused to reveal where interrogations had been held on the ground
that it is a secret, and then said that he didn’t know where the
accused were held. Nor could the police explain why it had taken more
than five months to lodge a case in the court, even though Inspector
Kyaw Soe himself acknowledged in the trial that the accused should
have been brought before a judge within 24 hours and that the ordinary
limit of remand for this case would be one week, whereupon extensions
should be brought. He also could not give basic facts to the court
about dates on which important steps in the criminal process had
occurred, such as the lodging of the First Information Report to
initiate the process.

2. Torture: The detained accused testified in court that during their
six months in detention they were tortured; however the allegations
went unanswered by the police. Inspector Kyaw Soe also refused to say
who had authorized the operation against the accused that led to their
alleged torture.

3. Unproven facts: The police submitted evidence from the
interrogations of the accused as proof of the alleged crime, even
though under section 27 of the Evidence Act, such information does not
constitute proof. They also could not produce any evidence to show
that E Bhar is actually a member of the NLD-LA as they allege, a claim
upon which the entire case against the three detainees rests.
According to Inspector Kyaw Soe, this fact ’emerged’ during
interrogations. However, he could not give any details of the
so-called fact, such as where or on what date E Bhar had become a
member, or concerning his responsibilities in the organisation. Nor
could he give any material evidence on the alleged connections with
the other accused.

Given the obvious flaws and patent violations in this case I ask that
the concerned persons intervene to see that it is dropped immediately.
This included the Attorney General, in accordance with his power under
section 4(b) of the Attorney General Law 2001, ‘withdrawing, if
necessary, any charge, any accused or the whole criminal case filed at
Court’. I also ask that the Ministry for Home Affairs and Myanmar
Police Force conduct inquiries in this case to determine why the
concerned personnel of Special Branch violated provisions of the
Criminal Procedure Code and if it is found that they have also in fact
committed torture as alleged, that criminal charges be brought against
them. In this respect, I note that Myanmar does not have a law to
prohibit torture and has not joined the UN Convention against Torture
and I urge that it does so.

Finally, I take this opportunity to remind the Government of Myanmar
of the need to allow the International Committee of the Red Cross
access to places of detention, in accordance with its globally
recognized mandate, without any further delay.

China emerging as global leader

October 20, 2009

KNOWLEDGE     STRUGGLE     VICTORY

Er. Hilal Ahmad War

Srinagar: Before the partition there were about a dozen provinces in British India, each locally ruled by a governor under the overall control of the British Viceroy. There were also some centrally administered territories. The British Crown also enjoyed a Paramountcy over six hundred odd princely states under a treaty between them and the government of British-India. Each princely state was in essence a sovereign state in which the British-India government had posted its official ambassadors designated as British President. All these states had given the arrangement of communication and foreign affairs to the British-Indian Government. The Indian Independence Act was passed on 15th July1947 which got royal assent on 18th of July 1947, by virtue of which British-India was partitioned into two dominions i.e. India and Pakistan. The Section 7 (b) part I of Indian Independence Act, 1947 ceases the authority of Maharaja of Kashmir as a ruler. By virtue of the same Section 7 (b) of IIA-1947 all the treaties between the British-Indian Government and the rulers of the princely states got cancelled. Therefore all the princely states of the Indian sub-continent had automatically regained their full-fledged and independent sovereign status. By virtue of Section 7(b) of Indian Independence Act, the accession is illegal, illegitimate and unconstitutional and in violation of the International Law. The document of accession was signed by a state subject of Jammu and Kashmir (Nation), namely Hari Singh in his personal capacity and not as a ruler de-jure.That is why the then Governor General wrote back to Dogra’s that the accession has to be put to the ratification. The constitution of Jammu and Kashmir reserves 24 seats of the legislative assembly for Azad Jammu and Kashmir. There cannot be any constitutional amendment unless those are fulfilled. Even the so-called accession of the state with India cannot be justified on the same analogy. Ratification of accession is necessary for the simple reason that Dogra rule seized on 15 the august 1947.

China respects the aspirations of the people of Kashmir. China has demonstrated its conscience by recognizing Kashmir as a disputed territory which is highly appreciable. The role of China is laudable and an initiation of a new world order. The Chinese stance over Kashmir has laid the foundation of a peaceful world and mutual co-existence. China has opened a new chapter not only in the subcontinent but in world history by recognising the fundamental right of the oppressed. The dynamics of this great and historical decision has opened the Pandora’s Box for warmongers and it has opened a debate at world level among the peace-lovers and thinkers. If Barack Obama wants a change, he must change his foreign policy towards the world in general and China in particular and understand the good intentions of China. This historical and bold decision should be debated at the UNO. This debate will open a tunnel for world peace for which the key lies in the resolution of Kashmir problem. If Barack Obama’s recent statements are to be believed, then America must recognize China as a good friend without fearing that the China is a threat to the American supremacy. Debating the decision of China in the UNO will befriend china and America and America will emerge as a global leader De-Jure. The way China is upholding the golden principles of the United Nations Charter and swallows the bitter pills which originate from United Nations Charter in the interest of international security, peace and justice. The present global scenario leads the China towards a leadership role in the globe. The global developments are taking place so fast that the world is once again marching towards becoming bipolar after the fall of Soviet Russia. Since China is not ambitious to become a superpower but circumstances will ultimately lead China towards world leadership which will balance the power on the globe.

Immediately after Chinese troops had made incursions into Ladakh, the land bounded by two of the world’s mightiest mountain ranges – the Great Himalaya and the Karakoram – the two sides are again involved in a diplomatic spat, this time over China’s issuing of different visas to residents of Kashmir. They have given stapled visas earlier to residents of Arunachal Pradesh, over which China claims its sovereignty .The action is seen by the authorities in New Delhi as an attempt by China to question status of Jammu and Kashmir as part of India. Several people from Kashmir have been left stranded as India and China fight over the nature of visas Indian authorities have lodged official protests with Beijing over a new practice of issuing special Chinese visas for residents of Kashmir. Strategic affairs analysts, Brahma Chellany and Acharya agreed that the visa issue was yet another attempt by China to keep India under pressure for a variety of strategic reasons. “China is opening up pressure points on various fronts to put India on the defensive”, said Chellany.

Acharya felt the Chinese strategy was aimed at pushing India into a corner so that it doesn’t ratchet up other issues, like the long-standing border dispute or Tibet. The forthcoming visit of the Dalai Lama to Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh, to which China has staked claim, is a bone of contention and Beijing has asked New Delhi to have it called off.

China has also been issuing stapled visas to residents of Arunachal Pradesh, saying that the north-eastern Indian state, of which China claims a portion is a disputed territory and that its natives are “Chinese”. External Affairs Minister S M Krishna is likely to raise the issue with his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi’s visit to India October 26-27, top sources told IANS. Yang will be here to participate in the trilateral meeting of the foreign ministers of India, China and Russia which will be held in Bangalore.

China’s visa policy has not only triggered diplomatic row but gives a clear signal that Beijing has reservation on the status of Jammu and Kashmir as an integral part of India as claimed by successive Governments of India.

“It is a moral victory for the people of Kashmir that China, a permanent member of the UN Security Council, has been accepting Jammu and Kashmir as a disputed territory,” The Chinese visa issue is not the only recent development to draw international attention to the Kashmir issue. Peoples Political Party (PPP) recognizes China as an ally and a strategic partner of Kashmir. China is the only country which follows the golden principles of United Nations Charter and recognized the plebiscite resolutions passed by United Nation. China has taken a very legal position by recognizing Kashmir’s disputed states and has mustered courage to take practical steps in this direction by issuing special visas to Kashmiris. Muammer Qadafi, the Libyan leader, had, in the course of his speech to the UN General Assembly on September 23, said that Kashmir should be an independent state. “We should end this conflict. It should be a Baathist state between India and Pakistan,” said a statement from the Libyan leader that not only encouraged Kashmiri leaders and parties but also won him local fans. The Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) in a meeting, held in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session, said that it supported the people of Jammu and Kashmir in “realisation of their legitimate right of self-determination in accordance with relevant UN resolutions and the aspirations of Kashmiri people”. The 56-member grouping also appointed its assistant secretary general, Abdullah bin Abdul Rahman al Bakr, a Saudi national, a special envoy on Kashmir after the meeting of its Contact Group on Kashmir at the UN headquarters. The United Jihad Council, an alliance of Kashmiri freedom groups, welcomes the new visa policy of China, for Kashmiri nationals and said China, being a giant regional power, has a “pivotal role” to play in resolving the Kashmir issue.

M J Akbar, a veteran Indian journalist and author, however, said China did not want war with India, but trade, which is now close to US$60 billion. “There is a rational reason why China has decided to exploit Indian weaknesses and contradictions through rhetoric and provocative gestures on the border and in its Delhi embassy. It seeks to keep India off balance, to the extent it can, at a time of great existential discomfort for its ally Pakistan,” he said. This time there appears to be a coordinated attempt by Beijing and Islamabad to intimidate India, If the turn of events leads to open hostilities India must chose the time and place most advantageous to its own troops rather than be rushed into an unequal contest”.

Indian Defence Analysts says, “Nonetheless, given the heady nature of the season at this time of the year, India should be prepared for aggressive action by its neighbours. This time it is happening in unison with malice aforethought. The signal for it was given when Pakistan Army chief General Ashfaq Kiyani visited Beijing and since then there has been a slow but steady escalation of tension India and her two neighbours. Calls for talks by Pakistan and China are subterfuges and camouflage for their joint intention of destabilizing India using a combination of terrorist and conventional military tactics. For both of them the jehadi organizations that constitute the United Jihad Council are the bedrock of their geopolitics in which Pakistan is the vanguard and the terrorists are their proxies. It is not for nothing that Beijing has invested so much in terms of nuclear weapons and the missiles for delivering them. Pakistan’s nuclear weapons capability is the shield from behind which the terrorist spear is hurled. It is not for nothing that at every occasion Pakistan should harp on its being a nuclear weapons power and that military confrontation could, very quickly, erupt into a nuclear exchange. It is bald-faced nuclear coercion particularly since it is the overtly stated policy of Pakistan to use nuclear weapons at short notice”.

There is a contested border with India, and India has not forgotten its defeat by China in a border row in 1962. China also borders Kashmir and the Indians do not recognise the border agreement the Chinese reached with Pakistan over the section of Azad Kashmir. Although the Chinese and Indian sides have been unable to resolve their border dispute, they have nevertheless agreed in recent years to take various measures to reduce tension and the possibility for conflict along the lines of control that separate their two forces .From a geopolitical point of view, China has consistently sought to constrain Indian power and confine it essentially to the region of South Asia. In addition to the strategic interest in not having to confront a single powerful neighbour to the south of the Himalayas, China is also concerned by the residual Indian interest in Tibet. After all India still harbours the Dalai Lama and his unofficial government in exile. Thus China continues to refuse to recognise India’s claims to Sikkim, it encourages Bangladesh to stand up to India and above all China has supported India’s arch-rival Pakistan. In the 1965 Indo-Pak war China went so far as to threaten to open a second front against India. But its main support has been expressed through the supply of arms. The Chinese have sought to redress the balance by helping Pakistan to acquire nuclear weapons and missile technology. From a international perspective, India and China were rivals in the Cold War era. Indeed India and the US held joint military exercises for the first time in May 2008. But China is anxious to avoid trouble with the US at a time of leadership succession, and at a time when it has to adjust to the terms of entry to the World Trade Organisation. Moreover, China has benefited to an extent from the “war on terror”, which has enabled it to suppress resistance to its rule in its Central Asian province of Xinjiang. Nevertheless the Chinese eye warily the American military presence in Central Asia. Although they have not said so publicly, the Chinese are very much opposed to the possible use of nuclear weapons.

On September 28, 2009, China asked India and Pakistan to seek a solution to the Kashmir issue through peaceful and friendly consultations and offered to play a “constructive role” in resolving the “bilateral to issue”. As a friendly country, China would also be happy to see progress in the peace process between India and Pakistan, said Hu Zhengyue, Assistant Minister for Foreign Affairs, in charge of the Asian region. Kashmir is an issue that has been longstanding left from history. This issue touches the bilateral relations between the relevant countries,” he told a group of visiting foreign journalists here.

China’s declared positions on the Kashmir issue have evolved through four distinct phases. In the 1950s, Beijing upheld a more or less neutral position on the Kashmir issue. The 1960s and 1970s saw China shift its position toward public support of Pakistan’s views on the issue as Sino-Indian relations deteriorated. Since the early 1980s, however, with China and India moving toward normalization of bilateral relations, Beijing returned to a position of neutrality even as it sought to balance between the need to satisfy Pakistan’s demands for support and the growing interest in developing a better relationship with India. By the early 1990s, China’s position became unequivocal that the Kashmir issue is a bilateral matter to be solved by India and Pakistan through peaceful means.

China’s Kashmir policy must be understood within the broader contexts of its South Asia policy in general and where this policy fits in Beijing’s global strategies and its bilateral relationships with India and Pakistan in particular. While in the past, Beijing supported Islamabad’s positions on the Kashmir issue to demonstrate solidarity with an “all weather” ally during periods of Sino-Indian estrangement and hostility, normalization with New Delhi has necessitated the adoption of a policy of neutrality to avoid unnecessarily alienating India and running the risk of entrapment. Indeed, as both India and Pakistan have acquired nuclear weapons capabilities, China has become extremely worried that any escalation of conflicts over Kashmir could precipitate a nuclear exchange, with horrifying consequences. Beijing is quite interested in the reduction of tension over Kashmir and therefore is particularly encouraged by recent developments, such as the ceasefire along the line of control, the defense secretary meeting on the Siachen Glacier demilitarization, the resumption of civilian flight and the opening of the bus service through Kashmir, discussion on reducing military presence along the line of control, and military confidence building measures including the agreement on missile launch notification. .

Chinese analysts suggest that both India and Pakistan have a lot to gain from the current rapprochement. Prolonged tension and fighting over Kashmir has exacted severe tolls in human and material terms for both countries. For instance, maintaining supplies to the Indian troops stationed on the Siachen Glacier costs New Delhi $1 million a day. Since fighting began in 1984, some 2,500 Indian and 1,300 Pakistani troops have died over the years, not so much in direct combat but as a result of the treacherous weather and terrain conditions. Managing the Kashmir issue has become a critical consideration in New Delhi’s efforts to realize its great power potentials by channelling more resources to economic development. For Pakistan, the conflict consumes even more resources. The post-September 11 regional security environment and the U.S.-led global war on terrorism also exert external pressure for Pakistan to deal with cross-border terrorist activities. Beijing is also interested in the evolving negotiations over Kashmir due to its own entanglement, which is largely a result of the October 1963 Sino-Pakistani Border Agreement. India claims the Chinese-controlled Aksai Chin of approximately 35,000 square kilometres as part of the territory in Ladaakh, Kashmir. While a remote possibility, a resolution of the Kashmir dispute between New Delhi and Islamabad could re-open the sovereignty issue left over in the 1963 Sino-Pakistani border agreement. Beijing has growing interests in seeing a stable South Asia and is seeking a better relationship with India. That explains Beijing’s more unequivocal position on the Kashmir issue, which in turn is firmly grounded in the belief that the only realistic way to resolve the Kashmir conflict is through peaceful negotiation between India and Pakistan. As Islamabad’s trusted friend, Beijing could and should use its influence to convince Pakistan that it is also in their own interest to resolve the issue peacefully. China is also lays claim on a piece of land of Kashmir from Ladakh side.Over much of the last 40 years, China has been claiming Arunachal Pradesh as its own territory. They have given stapled visas earlier to residents of Arunachal Pradesh, over which China has a genuine claim of its sovereignty.

The China is also facing problems with Islamic Separatists in s ‘Xinjiang’ .Xinjiang actually shares borders with Ladakh in Indian Occupied Kashmir. Its size is 1.8 million sq km; almost one-sixth of China; half as much as India. The pre-August 1947 Jammu and Kashmir measures some 2, 65,000 sq km. of which some 86,000 sq km is under Pakistani control; some 37,500 sq km under China; the balance, 1, 41,000 sq km, is occupied by India. Some sources believe that turmoil in Xinjiang is fanned and funded by Indo-American secret intelligence Agencies. This secret Agency is bent upon to make ‘Xinjiang’ China’s East-Pakistan. They want to disintegrate China in the same way as they did in 1971 under Agartalla Conspiracy. Uprising in Tibet is openly backed by Indian Intelligence Agencies. The American hue and cry against Islamic terrorism in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Chechinya and in some parts of China, Philippine etc. is a camouflage to keep china and Russia in dark so that fatal network could easily be established for eliminating them from the map of Great Powers.

South Korea: Another Migrant activist arrested

October 20, 2009
KNOWLEDGE                              STRUGGLE                                   VICTORY
 
Former President of National Students Federation
Former President of National Students Federation

We, AHRC, PDF, NSF, Mutahida Mazdoor Jamat, Berozgar Naujwan Tehreek and other socio – political activists wish to express our grave shock and concern over the recent arrest of the cultural and human rights activist Minod Moktan.

 
On October 8 the South Korea Immigration Authorities arrested Minod Moktan, a well-known cultural activist who has fought tirelessly for
the human rights of migrants in South Korea. His arrest is the latest
incident in series of targeted crackdowns against migrant activists, a pattern of repression that has drawn international condemnation. We
urge you to show your solidarity by faxing a message of protest to the
South Korean Ministry of Justice making the following demands:

•    Free Minod Moktan!

•    Stop the crackdown against undocumented migrant workers!

•    Stop the targeted repression against migrant activists!

I. Background of the Arrest

At 10:00am in the morning on October 8, Minod Moktan (38, Nepal) was
arrested by immigration officers in front of the office of Migrant
Workers
Television (MWTV), where works as the Director of the Film
Production Team. He is currently imprisoned south of Seoul at Hwaesong
Detention Center and could be deported at any moment.

Although Immigration Authorities claim Minod was arrested in the
course of a normal raid, the manner in which the arrest was carried
out shows this is clearly not the case. The immigration officers had
been waiting in hiding in front of the MWTV office demonstrating that
the arrest was pre-planned. Moreover, normal immigration raids are
made at factories or residential areas where migrant workers are
congregated, making the location of the arrest—the office where
Minod does his cultural and human rights work—highly conspicuous. It
is all too clear that the arrest was made in an attempt to stop
Minod’s activities in defense of the human rights of migrants. What
is worse, Minod’s arrest must be seen as a declaration on the part
of the Lee Myeong-bak administration that it plans to go after all
migrant activists fighting for migrants’ human rights in South
Korea.

III. Minod’s Work as a Cultural Human Rights Activist

Minod came to South Korea in 1992 and worked for several years as a
manual laborer. During this time he experienced personally the
oppression and discrimination migrant workers face at the hands of the
government, employers and Korean society at large. He became convinced
that cultural work and cross-culture exchange were necessary for
addressing these problems.

In 2003, during a historic sit-down protest against the crackdown on
undocumented migrant workers, Minod founded the first multicultural
migrants’ band in South Korea—“Stop Crackdown Band.” In 2005
Minod also helped to found MWTV, a television station that provides a
‘voice’ to migrants through which to speak about their lives and
experiences. He has served as MWTV’ Co-Representative and Director
of its Film Production Team. He has also produced two documentaries
that look at the lives of migrant workers in South Korea. All of
Minod’s cultural activities have been carried out with the goal of
raising awareness about the discrimination and human rights abuses
faced by migrants in South Korea and creating cross-cultural dialogue
as a means to address these problems. His work is of infinite
important to the movement for migrants’ rights and South Korean
society as a whole.

II. Concentrated Crackdown against Undocumented Migrant Workers

Minod’s arrest comes just as the government has declared a
concentrated crackdown against undocumented migrant workers, which is
scheduled to continue from October to December 20009. In the past,
countless migrant workers have been injured and killed in the course
of such crackdowns, during which immigration officers conduct surprise
raids on factories and residences, breaking down doors and windows and
dragging people out. One of the most shocking incidents occurred last
November, when police blocked of the entrances and exits to an
industrial complex in Maseok and immigration officers ransacked the
factories and houses inside. 130 people were arrested and 10
hospitalized for injuries.

Far from thinking about their human rights, the right-wing
administration Lee Myeong-bak has declared an all-out war on
undocumented migrants. In the first half of 2009 alone the government
has deported 17 thousand people; 32 thousand were deported in 2008.
This is roughly twice the number of people deported during the entire
term of the previous administration, which was by no means friendly
towards migrants.

Like other migrants’ rights activists, Minod recognized the brutal
nature of the crackdown, strongly condemned it and called on the
government to implement a more just and humane policy, including a
program of legalization program.

IV. Pattern of Targeted Crackdown against Migrant Activists

Minod’s arrest is not the first of its kind, but rather the latest
incident in a series of targeted crackdowns against migrant activists
in South Korea. Since 2002, immigration officers have used the cover
of their authority to arrest undocumented migrants to target those
involved in work to defend human and labor rights. The international
community will remember when the government arrested and deported the
president, vice president and general secretary of the Migrants Trade
Union (MTU), a union founded for and by migrants, at the end of 2007
and then did the same thing to the newly elected president and vice
president in May 2008. These arrests were carried out in the same
manner as Minod’s, with immigration officers waiting in hiding in
front of homes and workplaces in order to ambush the activists.

This pattern of target crackdown has become so obvious that it has
induced intervention on the parts of the UN Special Rapporteur on the
Situation of Human Rights Defenders, the Special Rapporteur on the
Human Rights of Migrants and the ILO Committee on Freedom of
Association
. It has also been widely condemned by human rights and
labor organizations around the world.

Not only do we need your help to free Minod, if we do not make a
strong show of force now, the government will take it as license to
continue targeting migrant activists and persist in its crackdown
against undocumented migrants. Please show you rage at the government
and support for our struggle by sending a protest message to the fax
numbers given below.

Your solidarity is more important now than ever.  Please wrire to the concerned authorities below.

Voice your concern to your Foreighn Offices and remained united for the cause.
Please fax a protest letter to the following numbers:

+82-2-500-9097

When you do so, please notify us by fax or email at:

82-2-2269-6166

migrant@jinbo.net

If you have any questions you may contact Young-sup Jung at:

82-2-2285-6068, migrant@jinbo.net

From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs.
Karl Marx

PAKISTAN: Love marriage greeted by the torture of a family; one girl is abducted by a Punjab minister

October 18, 2009
Former President of National Students Federation
Former President of National Students Federation

KNOWLEDGE                              STRUGGLE                                   VICTORY

I am extremely disturbed to hear of the criminal harm done to one family by officers at Airport Police Station, Rawalpindi, along with one member of the Punjab Assembly and his relatives. According to the information I have received, six members of a family, including three women and a young girl, were arrested on the instructions of MPA Iftekhar Ahmed Khan Baloch in retaliation to a love marriage. All have been severely tortured by police in custody, with one man unable to walk. A seventh member of the family, a sixteen-year-old girl, has not been seen or heard of since her arrest, when Baloch took her away in a car. I believe she is in danger of being raped. Two men and one woman remains in Adiala Jail, Rawalpindi, the others are in hiding and unable to pursue the case of torture and illegal detainment that they have lodged.

According to the reports I have been given, Miss Kulsoom Baloch, 25 married Mr. Fazal Abbas, 29, who is from a less wealthy family, in Sarghodha–Abbass  home city–in a civil court on March 22, 2009.

On April 25 a First Information Report (FIR: a document of complaint) was filed against Abbas at the Airport Police Station in Rawalpindi (Punjab province) by Kulsoom’s brother, Mr Mehmood Ur Rehman, charging Abbas with the girl’s abduction and rape, and the theft of her jewelry and cash.

Early the next morning Baloch, the MPA, with Mehmood Ur Rehman and Kulsoom’s brother-in-law Mr. Nasir Khan Baloch, along with Mr. Basheer, an assistant sub inspector (ASI) and other police officers, raided the house where Kulsoom was staying. She was beaten severely by each member of the raiding party and asked for the address of her husband’s office. Neighbors intervened and Kulsoom managed to escape.

The same group of men then visited the house of her in-laws in Iqbal colony, Sargodha, forcefully entered the home and badly beat the women and girls there, asking again for the address of Abbass’ office. After some time, officers and the MPA arrived at the house with Abbas, who was reportedly bruised and bleeding.

They then forced Abbas and his sisters, Mrs Riffat Rani (wife of Shafiq Dogar); Miss Nadia, 19, who is a national badminton champion; Miss Shazia Riaz, 16; and Miss Nazia, 12, into three private cars. Shazia Riaz was loaded into a car with Iftekhar Ahmed Baloch and has not been seen or heard from since.

At Airport Police Station, Rawalpindi, 400 km away, the reports allege that the three women and Fazal were severely and systematically beaten by Station House Officer (SHO) Mr. Choudhry Safdar and Assistant Sub-Inspector, Mr. Basheer. Basheer reportedly told Nadia that if she were to become his ˜friend”–suggesting some kind of sex act–he would give her certain concessions. The women’s clothing was torn, their hair was pulled and they were thrown against walls. The officers continually asked them where their daughter-in-law Kulsoom was hiding. Baloch, the MPA,also visited the station twice during that period, telling the women that unless they could lead the police to Kulsoom, he would never release Shazia from his personal custody.

After three or four days the women were produced before Mr. Azmat Ullah, a civil judge in Rawalpindi for remand and were charged with aiding the abduction of Kulsoom when she married their brother. Remand was granted, and the judge ignored the girl’s claims that they had been severely tortured. Nadia also tried telling the judge that since she was the national badminton champion he should consider the pride of the nation; he reportedly laughed at her.

In the meantime, on April 28, officers Sat Brana Police Station, Jhang, Punjab arrested Mr. Shafiq Dogar, the husband of Fazal’s elder sister, and charged him with stealing. The case was filed the next day. This police station lies in the electoral constituency of Iftekhar Ahmed Baloch, the MPA. On May 3 Dogar was taken by ASI Basheer of Rawalpindi and two of Kulsoom’s brothers, Mehmood ur Rehaman and Saif ur Rehman to the Airport Police Station, where he was beaten so badly he lost the use of his legs. He believes that they are broken, but has been given no medical care. On May 12 Dogar was produced in a wheel chair before the same civil judge, Mr. Azmat Ullah, who showed the same indifference to his injuries. He was released on bail for charges of theft, but remanded further on a new charge of aiding Kulsoom’s abduction.

After Dogar’s arrest on the 28th his wife was released from custody. Nadia and Nazia were released on bail on May 6, but when their mother, Mrs. Nasrin Akhtar, 50, collected them at Adiala jail in Rawalpindi, she was arrested. She was taken to the Airport Police Station and beaten by the same SHO and ASI, and bears the torture marks on her back and hands. She is currently in Adiala jail on the orders of civil judge Azmat Ullah.

The family have filed a case regarding the illegal arrest and torture but the continuous arrest of family members and threats from the Baloch family have sent them into hiding across Pakistan, and they are unable to pursue their case.

I urge Sayyad Yousaf Raza Gillani, the Prime Minster and Rehman Malik, the Interior Minister to immediately intervene into this horrific display of police brutality. That senior police officers can confidently direct and participate in abductions, illegal arrests, arbitrary violence and torture in custody, should be a matter of deep shame to those who operate the system they work within. They must be fired and charged for their crimes.

As well as signing the UN Convention Against Torture in 2008, the Pakistan Penal Code itself is built to protect civilians from the greedy violence of the power hungry; be they parliamentarians, police officers or civilians. The rights enshrined in the constitution include the right to life and liberty, Article 9, the right for detainees to be produced before the court within 24 hours of arrest, Article 10 sub article 2, and the right to dignity and the inviolable privacy of home, 14, sub section (1). Article 14 (2) declares that no person in Pakistan shall be subjected to torture for the purpose of extracting evidence. I suggest that this information be made available in police stations in Pakistan, where it appears that knowledge of the constitution and of basic criminal procedure is lacking. This information should also be provided to those in the civil court of Rawalpindi, where judges such as Mr. Azmat Ullah, seem to operate regardless of the law and at the behest of politicians, with little or no care for broken legs or assaulted women in his court. I suggest that this judge be investigated and disbarred.

Nasreen Akhtar, Fazal Abbas, Shafiq Dogar must be instantly released from Adiala Jail and given the appropriate medical care for the torture sustained in prison. The civilians and parliamentary member responsible for their ordeal must be swiftly charged and tried. I demand that the Punjab provincial government take legal action against MPA Iftekhar Ahmed Khan Baloch for the abuse of his power, and the mockery he has made of his seat. Sixteen-year-old Shazia Abbas must be recovered unharmed from private captivity. All victims must be given protection, compensation and access to justice.

The pople of Pakistan has made  a two years long struggle for the Rule of Law.
I appeal to honorable Chief Justice of Pakistan, Mr. Iftkhar Muhammad Chauhdri to take a Suo Motto Action, so that the people could know that their blood for the restoration of judges did not go in vain.