Tag Archives: human rights

Action Alert: Indigenous peasant leader arrested in Guatemala – act now to stop his torture

May 20, 2013

The Guatemala Solidarity Project strongly condemns the arrest of our good friend Alberto Choc Xe, a community leader from the indigenous q’eqchi’ village Saquimo Setana.  Choc was arrested on Thursday, May 16.

We call on immediate solidarity from the international community.  We know that other arrested leaders of Saquimo Setana have faced beatings, hunger, false bribes and other forms of abuse and tricks used to pressure them to admit to crimes they didn’t commit and to implicate other local and national leaders in these crimes.

For background on the conflict in Saquimo Setana please refer to our earlier videos, two of which can be found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IXoFw87lw0Y (an overview of the conflict at Saquimo) and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FN1pbixFMkc (which focuses on the case of another political prisoner from Saquimo).

We fear for Alberto’s immediate safety and we believe that the small action of calling the Guatemalan Consulate in Chicago can help protect Alberto in the coming hours and days.  Please call them at 312-540-0781 or 312-540-0808 to voice your extreme concern for the safety of Alberto Choc Xe of Saquimo Setana, arrested on May 16 in Canguanic, part of Coban, Alta Verapaz, and currently being held in Coban.  Please ask for the immediate release of Alberto, as well as of Pablo Sacrab,   another leader from Saquimo who has been in prison since 2010.

Please also consider making a contribution to the GSP.  All contributions go to our partners in Guatemala. Because of a budget shortfall we are not currently able to provide financial assistance to arrested Saquimo leaders.  In the past we have been able to help purchase medical supplies, food and other important support. Contributions can be made tax deductible through our fiscal sponsor UPAVIM by writing a check to the “UPAVIM Community Development Foundation” and sending to UPAVIM, c/o Greg Norman, 713 W. Garfield, Temple, TX, 76501.  Or donate on paypal at http://upavim.pursuantgroup.net/english/donate.htm (Click on “Make a Donation,” then write GSP in the description space)

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Filed under Actions / Protest, BREAKING NEWS, Climate Change, Indigenous Peoples, Land Grabs, Latin America-Caribbean, Political Repression

Former Guatemalan dictator is guilty of genocide against Mayan group

Note: “When General Ríos Montt seized power in March 1982, President Ronald Reagan’s administration cultivated him as a reliable Central American ally in its battle against Nicaragua’s Sandinista government and Salvadoran guerrillas. ”  Another US-backed dictator brought to justice.  Here’s to you, President Reagan.

-The GJEP Team

By Elisabeth Malkin, May 10, 2013. Source: NY Times

Photo: Moises Castillo/Associated Press

Photo: Moises Castillo/Associated Press

A Guatemalan court on Friday found Gen. Efraín Ríos Montt, the former dictator who ruled Guatemala during one of the bloodiest periods of its long civil war, guilty of genocide and crimes against humanity.

Judge Yasmín Barrios sentenced General Ríos Montt, 86, to 80 years in prison. His co-defendant, José Mauricio Rodríguez Sánchez, who served as the director of intelligence under the general, was acquitted of the same two charges.

“We are completely convinced of the intent to destroy the Ixil ethnic group,” Judge Barrios said as she read the hourlong summary of the ruling by the three-judge panel. Over five weeks, the tribunal heard more than 100 witnesses, including psychologists, military experts and Maya Ixil Indian survivors who told how General Ríos Montt’s soldiers had killed their families and wiped out their villages.

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Statement in solidarity with Mexican women seeking justice against military and police violence, abuse

Note: Take action to show support and solidarity.  Click here to send a photo to the Human Rights Center and let the world know you stand with the women of Atenco.

-The GJEP Team

March 13, 2013. Source: El Enemigo Común

???????????????????????????????Seven years have gone by since the 3rd and 4th of May, 2006, when in the streets of Texcoco and San Salvador Atenco, the three levels of government, together with the three main political parties, and the whole apparatus of the Mexican State, unleashed their violence and brutality by means of their police and judicial forces against men and women who defended their right to work and solidarity among those at the bottom. During the police operation, 207 people were violently arrested and tortured physically, psychologically, and sexually during the the time they were taken from the town to the Santiaguito and La Palma prison. Afterwards they were dragged through judicial processes for years, inside and outside of prison.

In those days of 2006, solidarity between those at the bottom and to the left rose up throughout Mexico. From the rebellious dignity of the Mexican southeast, to the painful border in the north, it rose above borders, throughout the entire planet. That solidarity, that pain and rage that is born down below makes us never forget those days, that violence, the torture, the prison. We will not forget the inherent stupidity of the State and its violence, nor the dignity that challenged it, the dignity that rose up from the prisons. We down below and to the left, do not forget those days, that violence, nor those signs of solidarity and dignity.

Following those repressive days, a group of women who had been arrested and tortured by the Mexican State decided to file charges against the government for the sexual torture they were forced to suffer. The charges began in the national courts where, as expected, they were silenced and forgotten. This paved the way to file charges in international bodies such as the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights. In these seven years, these women have pushed forth the international court case with strength and dignity, bringing the Mexican State to court and making evident the nature of the capitalist system as well as the role of the State itself.
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World Rainforest Movement Bulletin: Spotlight on human rights

WORLD RAINFOREST MOVEMENT

Monthly Bulletin – Issue 185 – December 2012

OUR VIEWPOINT: In confronting the climate crisis, what rights should hold precedence?

THE FOCUS OF THIS ISSUE: HUMAN RIGHTS

Peasants: Holders of rights 
A new United Nations resolution implies complete recognition of peasant communities and other rural workers as holders of human rights that must be defended. The resolution represents a landmark victory in the peasant movement struggle against marginalization, extreme poverty, forced evictions, and criminalization when they take action to defend their rights to their land and territory and fight back not only against the appropriation and destruction of ecosystems but also the violation of their human rights as peasants.

MEGAPROJECTS, DEFORESTATION AND VIOLATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS: CASES AND DENOUNCES FROM THE SOUTH

AFRICA

ASIA

LATIN AMERICA

PEOPLES IN ACTION

RECOMMENDED

 

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Africa, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Commodification of Life, Commons, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Forests, Forests and Climate Change, Indigenous Peoples, Land Grabs, Latin America-Caribbean, Rights, Resilience, and Restoration, The Greed Economy and the Future of Forests

Sierra Leone: Local communities vow to stop SOCFIN land grab

Note:  Yet another example of how investment by northern countries in biofuels is leading to a massive land grab across the global south…

-The GJEP Team

December 4, 2012.  Source: farmlandgrab.org

Photo: Green Scenery

Photo: Green Scenery

More than a hundred representatives of landholding families from 36 villages affected by a large- scale investor in oil palm plantation in Malen Chiefdom, Pujehun District, have signed a resolution stating that they disassociate themselves from any lease agreement signed on their behalf by the Paramount Chief and chiefdom authorities of Malen Chiefdom with the Government of Sierra Leone. Furthermore, it says “…we will no longer allow the Socfin Agricultural Company personnel and or their machines to enter upon or operate on our land.” The resolution was issued with a letter written by MALOA, an association of affected landowners and users in Malen Chiefdom, on behalf of affected landholding families and addressed to the Human Rights Commission for their intervention against human rights abuses such as intimidation. The document was signed in Pujehun on 1st of December 2012 at a meeting of aggrieved landholding families from Malen Chiefdom.

In the letter the association complains about ongoing harassment, molestation and intimidation of landowners opposing the land deal by the Paramount Chief and chiefdom authorities. It says that land has been forcefully taken by the company with the authority of the Paramount Chief, ignoring the protest of the landholding families. “The present operations of the Socfin Agricultural company is against our progress and economic viability and a blatant disregard to our ownership of our respective family land in the Malen Chiefdom which we can no longer accept,” states the letter, and it announces peaceful resistance against any further company operation on their land.

Socfin Agricultural Company S.L. Limited (SAC) is a subsidiary of the Belgium company, Socfin. SAC leased over 6,500 hectares in Malen chiefdom, Pujehun District for over 50 years with a possible extension of 21 years to establish oil palm and rubber plantations. The company signed in March 2011 a sub-lease with the Government of Sierra Leone, which holds the lead lease with the chiefdom council. The company pays US$ 5 rent per year per acre, with only half of it going to the land owners. Land users, mainly women, are not compensated. Mainly casual and unskilled employment is offered to mostly young male Sierra Leoneans. The salary is 10,000 Leones per day. Extension plans for a second phase over 5,500 hectare for oil palm plantations under similar conditions to the first phase are in progress. Communities in the prospective lease area have already written letters stating that they will not agree to any lease arrangements with the investor.
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Filed under Actions / Protest, Bioenergy / Agrofuels, Climate Justice, Corporate Globalization, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Forests and Climate Change, GE Trees

The global “Green Economy”: Seeing through the emperor’s new clothes

By Avery Pittman, September 18, 2012.  Source: Toward Freedom

Note: Avery Pittman traveled to Rio de Janiero this June as a volunteer correspondent for Climate Connections.  She is a member of the Vermont Workers’ Center and a co-founder of Rising Tide Vermont.

-The GJEP Team

A member of Grassroots Global Justice marching during the Day of Action in Rio de Janiero, Brazil. Photo: Will Bennington

For the past ten years, the corporate elite and international bureaucracy have been flirting with a new wardrobe. It’s green, a designer exclusive and it is expensive. From afar, it looks like the same shade of green in vogue with grassroots environmental and social justice movements.

And it may seem reassuring. The cacophony of green policy-talk suggests an emerging consensus that we live in a unique era of tumultuous, interlocking crises. The globalized capitalist economy – made possible with cheap fossil fuels and a corporate culture of avarice– is collapsing while it devastates ecosystems and displaces land-dependent peoples. At the same time, the previously insulated middle-classes of the Global North are being confronted with unemployment or underemployment, mounting debts, a shattered housing market and extreme weather patterns establishing disaster as the new normal.

Those who are talking solutions fall into two groups: the green economy team, funded by multilateral financial institutions and government officials; and the human rights and justice team, a diverse yet formidable group comprised of global grassroots movements. The superficial consensus belies a fierce tug-of-war for our futures.

The danger is in the innocuous “green economy” which seems like the cure-all consensus. It falsely implies that the power brokers are taking action to mitigate and solve these crises. Despite the “green”, the policies continue a growth-model economy characterized by high consumption, inequality, and fossil fuel extraction on a finite planet already spinning out of control.

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Climate Justice, Commodification of Life, Events, False Solutions to Climate Change, Green Economy, Hydroelectric dams, Independent Media, Indigenous Peoples, Rights, Resilience, and Restoration

U.S. refusal to extradite Bolivia’s ex-president to face genocide charges

by Glenn Greenwald 10 September 2012.  Source: guardian.co.uk

Obama justice officials have all but granted asylum to Sánchez de Lozada – a puppet who payrolled key Democratic advisers

 

In October 2003, the intensely pro-US president of Bolivia, Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada, sent his security forces to suppress growing popular protests against the government’s energy and globalization policies. Using high-powered rifles and machine guns, his military forces killed 67 men, women and children, and injured 400 more, almost all of whom were poor and from the nation’s indigenous Aymara communities. Dozens of protesters had been killed by government forces in the prior months when troops were sent to suppress them.

 

The resulting outrage over what became known as “the Gas Wars” drove Sanchez de Lozada from office and then into exile in the United States, where he was welcomed by his close allies in the Bush administration. He has lived under a shield of asylum in the US ever since.

 

The Bolivians, however, have never stopped attempting to bring their former leader to justice for what they insist are his genocide and crimes against humanity: namely, ordering the killing of indigenous peaceful protesters in cold blood (as Time Magazine put it: “according to witnesses, the military fired indiscriminately and without warning in El Alto neighborhoods”). In 2007, Bolivian prosecutors formally charged him with genocide for the October 2003 incident, charges which were approved by the nation’s supreme court.

 

Bolivia then demanded his extradition from the US for him to stand trial. That demand, ironically, was made pursuant to an extradition treaty signed by Sánchez de Lozada himself with the US. Civil lawsuits have also been filed against him in the US on behalf of the surviving victims.

 

To read the entire article, go to : The Guardian

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Remembering Guatemala’s 36-year armed conflict in words

Cross-posted from Cultural Survival
Rigoberta González Sul. © Danielle DeLuca

 

On July 7–8, 2012, members of 15 community radio stations partnering with Cultural Survival’s radio network across Guatemala gathered for a workshop in the Mujb’ab’l Yol training center in San Mateo, Quetzaltenango. The workshop focused on the difficult topic of historical memory of Guatemala’s 36-year armed conflict, which claimed the lives of 200,000 mostly Indigenous people. With the goal of using self-expression as a tool to alleviate trauma, participants wrote and recorded poems about the armed conflict in Spanish and their native Mayan languages. Leading the workshop was Alberto “Tino” Recinos (Mam), Cultural Survival’s citizen participation coordinator, who ran the guerilla radio station Voz Popular during the armed conflict. Recinos founded a community radio station after the signing of the Peace Accords in 1996.

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What’s wrong with the green economy?: Indian human rights activist and journalist Jiten Yumnan

Throughout the week, Climate Connections is posting short videos of participants in Rio+20 and the Peoples’ Summit talking about the meaning of the “green economy.”

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Video: Grassroots Global Justice Alliance members speak about “toxic tour” in Rio de Janeiro

On June 16, as part of the Rio+ 20 Peoples’ Summit, organizers in Rio de Janeiro organized a “toxic tour” of communities in the city overburdened by industrial pollution and associated health and social problems. In the videos that follow, two members of the Grassroots Global Justice Alliance share their impressions from the tour.

Naeema Muhammed tells of her visit to the community of Santa Cruz.

Lottie Spady of East Michigan Environmental Action Council speaks about the toxic burdens faced by marginalized communities in Detroit and in Brazil.

Throughout the week, Climate Connections will be posting short videos of participants in Rio+20 Earth Summit and the alternative Peoples’ Summit.

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