Category Archives: d-human rights

English bulletin December 1, 2023

. . ISRAELI WAR CRIMES . .

In the month following our last bulletin which documented solidarity actions with the Palestinians of Gaza in the face of Israeli genocide, the Israelis intensified their destruction of Gaza, destroying many of its hospitals. These and other actions constitute war crimes according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the countries of BRICS (Brazil, Russia, China and South Africa) and Israelis Against Apartheid.

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk declared Wednesday, November 8, that “the collective punishment by Israel of Palestinian civilians amounts… to a war crime, as does the unlawful forcible evacuation of civilians.” Türk’s comments came after he visited the Rafah border crossing that connects Egypt to Gaza, which he described as “the gates to a living nightmare—a nightmare where people have been suffocating, under persistent bombardment, mourning their families, struggling for water, for food, for electricity and fuel.” Long before October 7, when a Hamas-led attack killed over 1,400 Israelis and triggered Israel’s retaliation, Gaza was “described as the world’s biggest open-air prison… under a 56-year occupation and a 16-year blockade by Israel,” he highlighted.

U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres —who has also been pushing for a cease-fire—called out Israel’s aerial and ground operations for their impact on civilians during a Reuters conference on Wednesday, November 8. “We have in a few days in Gaza thousands and thousands of children killed, which means there is also something clearly wrong in the way military operations are being done.” He said Gaza was becoming “a graveyard for children.” According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza, the Israeli war against Hamas has already killed over 4,300 children.

Amnesty International, on October 20, wrote that Israeli attacks on Gaza caused mass civilian casualties and must be investigated as war crimes. ““In their stated intent to use all means to destroy Hamas, Israeli forces have shown a shocking disregard for civilian lives. They have pulverized street after street of residential buildings killing civilians on a mass scale and destroying essential infrastructure, while new restrictions mean Gaza is fast running out of water, medicine, fuel and electricity. Testimonies from eyewitness and survivors highlighted, again and again, how Israeli attacks decimated Palestinian families, causing such destruction that surviving relatives have little but rubble to remember their loved ones by.”

Human Rights Watch, on November 14, wrote that “The Israeli military’s repeated, apparently unlawful attacks on medical facilities, personnel, and transport are further destroying Gaza’s healthcare system and should be investigated as war crimes.” The World Health Organization (WHO) has reported that at least 521 people, including 16 medical workers, have been killed in 137 “attacks on health care” in Gaza as of November 12. These attacks, alongside Israel’s decisions to cut off electricity and water and block humanitarian aid to Gaza, have severely impeded health care access. The United Nations found as of November 10 that two-thirds of primary care facilities and half of all hospitals in Gaza are not functioning at a time when medical personnel are dealing with unprecedented numbers of severely injured patients. Hospitals have run out of medicine and basic equipment, and doctors told Human Rights Watch that they were forced to operate without anesthesia and to use vinegar as an antiseptic.

Following an extraordinary BRICS summit  on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, convened by South African president Cyril Ramaphosa and held via videoconference. November 21, 2023, Ramaphosa said “Israel’s actions clearly violate international law, including the United Nations Charter and the Geneva Convention. The collective punishment of Palestinian civilians through the illegal use of force by Israel is a war crime. The deliberate denial of medicine, fuel, food and water to Gaza residents amounts to genocide.” His demand for a ceasefire was echoed in statements from the presidents of Russia, Brazil and China.

Israelis Against Apartheid, a group representing more than 1,500 citizens, this week  urged  the International Criminal Court’s prosecutor “to take accelerated action against the escalating Israeli war crimes and genocide of the Palestinian people” in Gaza. “Israeli military personnel and journalists are now openly calling for ethnic cleansing and genocide,” their letter adds. “It is evident that Israel is disregarding the lives of civilians in Gaza, ordering them to evacuate vast areas even as there is no safe place in Gaza to which people can flee.”

How can these war crimes be stopped? This question is considered in a related blog this month.

HUMAN RIGHTS



UN Rights Chief Says Israel’s Collective Punishment in Gaza Is a War Crime

TOLERANCE & SOLIDARITY



Mercosur without Racism: Brazil will propose a campaign at a meeting of ministers from the bloc

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT



The 3rd Edition of the Biennale of Luanda THEME: “Education, Culture of Peace and African Citizenship as tools for the sustainable development of the continent”

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION



UNESCO: How can young people become actors of peace?

  

WOMEN’S EQUALITY



Secretary-General Tells Security Council Open Debate ‘Standing with Women Is Good for the World’, Stresses Patriarchy ‘a Massive Obstacle’ to Culture of Peace

EDUCATION FOR PEACE



Mexico: XIX World Congress and XXIII National Mediation Congress 2023

DISARMAMENT & SECURITY



1,500+ Israelis Urge ICC Action on ‘War Crimes and Genocide’ in Gaza

DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION



Feasibility Proposal for the Creation of a Ministry of Peace for Colombia

How can war crimes be documented, stopped, punished and prevented?

The following excerpts come from an analysis made by Richard Falk, former UN Rapporteur for Palestine. They were published 14 years ago in response to Israeli attacks on Palestine, but they are still pertinent today in 2023 in response to the attacks of Israel on Gaza:

International Criminal Court

The most obvious path to address the broader questions of criminal accountability would be to invoke the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court established in 2002. Although the prosecutor has been asked to investigate the possibility of such a proceeding, it is highly unlikely to lead anywhere since Israel is not a member and, by most assessments, Palestine is not yet a state or party to the statute of the ICC. Belatedly, and somewhat surprisingly, the Palestinian Authority sought, after the 19 January ceasefire, to adhere to the Rome Treaty establishing the ICC. But even if its membership is accepted, which is unlikely, the date of adherence would probably rule out legal action based on prior events such as the Gaza military operation. And it is certain that Israel would not cooperate with the ICC with respect to evidence, witnesses or defendants, and this would make it very difficult to proceed even if the other hurdles could be overcome.

(Note: According to an update by Reuters , the ICC has had an ongoing investigation in the occupied Palestinian territories into possible war crimes and crimes against humanity there since 2021. But Israel doesn’t recognise the court. Many of the world’s major powers are not members, including China, the United States, Russia, India and Egypt. Even if the ICC were to issue warrants in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the court has no police force and would rely on member states to make arrests.)

International criminal tribunals

The next most obvious possibility would be to follow the path chosen in the 1990s by the UN Security Council, establishing ad hoc international criminal tribunals, as was done to address the crimes associated with the break-up of former Yugoslavia and with the Rwanda massacres of 1994. This path seems blocked in relation to Israel as the US, and likely other European permanent members, would veto any such proposal. In theory, the General Assembly could exercise parallel authority, as human rights are within its purview and it is authorised by Article 22 of the UN charter to “establish such subsidiary organs as it deems necessary for the performance of its function”. In 1950 it acted on this basis to establish the UN Administrative Tribunal, mandated to resolve employment disputes with UN staff members.

The geopolitical realities that exist within the UN make this an unlikely course of action (although it is under investigation). At present there does not seem to be sufficient inter-governmental political will to embark on such a controversial path, but civil society pressure may yet make this a plausible option, especially if Israel persists in maintaining its criminally unlawful blockade of Gaza, resisting widespread calls, including by President Obama, to open the crossings from Israel. Even in the unlikely event that it is established, such a tribunal could not function effectively without a high degree of cooperation with the government of the country whose leaders and soldiers are being accused. Unlike former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, Israel’s political leadership would certainly do its best to obstruct the activities of any international body charged with prosecuting Israeli war crimes.

Claims of universal jurisdiction

Perhaps the most plausible governmental path would be reliance on claims of universal jurisdiction (1) associated with the authority of national courts to prosecute certain categories of war crimes, depending on national legislation. Such legislation exists in varying forms in more than 12 countries, including Spain, Belgium, France, Germany, Britain and the US. Spain has already indicted several leading Israeli military officers, although there is political pressure on the Spanish government to alter its criminal law to disallow such an undertaking in the absence of those accused.

This path to criminal accountability was taken in 1998 when a Spanish high court indicted the former Chilean dictator, Augusto Pinochet, and he was later detained in Britain where the legal duty to extradite was finally upheld on rather narrow grounds by a majority of the Law Lords, the highest court in the country. Pinochet was not extradited however, but returned to Chile on grounds of unfitness to stand trial, and died in Chile while criminal proceedings against him were under way.

Whether universal jurisdiction provides a practical means of responding to the war crimes charges arising out of the Gaza experience is doubtful. National procedures are likely to be swayed by political pressures, as were German courts, which a year ago declined to proceed against Donald Rumsfeld on torture charges despite a strong evidentiary basis and the near certainty that he would not be prosecuted in the US, which as his home state had the legally acknowledged prior jurisdictional claim. Also, universal jurisdictional proceedings are quite random, depending on either the cooperation of other governments by way of extradition or the happenchance of finding a potential defendant within the territory of the prosecuting state.

It is possible that a high profile proceeding could occur, and this would give great attention to the war crimes issue, and so universal jurisdiction is probably the most promising approach to Israeli accountability despite formidable obstacles. Even if no conviction results (and none exists for comparable allegations), the mere threat of detention and possible prosecution is likely to inhibit the travel plans of individuals likely to be detained on war crime charges; and has some political relevance with respect to the international reputation of a government.

There is, of course, the theoretical possibility that prosecutions, at least for battlefield practices such as shooting surrendering civilians, would be undertaken in Israeli criminal courts. Respected Israeli human rights organisations, including B’Tselem, are gathering evidence for such legal actions and advance the argument that an Israeli initiative has the national benefit of undermining the international calls for legal action.

This Israeli initiative, even if nothing follows in the way of legal action, as seems almost certain due to political constraints, has significance. It will lend credence to the controversial international contentions that criminal indictment and prosecution of Israeli political and military leaders and war crimes perpetrators should take place in some legal venue. If politics blocks legal action in Israel, then the implementation of international criminal law depends on taking whatever action is possible in either an international tribunal or foreign national courts, and if this proves impossible, then by convening a non-governmental civil society tribunal with symbolic legal authority.

Political will is lacking

What seems reasonably clear is that despite the clamour for war crimes investigations and accountability, the political will is lacking to proceed against Israel at the inter-governmental level, whether within the UN or outside. The realities of geopolitics are built around double standards when it comes to war crimes. It is one thing to proceed against Saddam Hussein or Slobodan Milosevic, but quite another to go against George W Bush or Ehud Olmert. Ever since the Nuremberg trials after the second world war, there exists impunity for those who act on behalf of powerful, undefeated states and nothing is likely to challenge this fact of international life in the near future, thus tarnishing the status of international law as a vehicle for global justice that is consistent in its enforcement efforts. When it comes to international criminal law, there continues to exist impunity for the strong and victorious, and potential accountability for the weak or defeated.

Civil society tribunals

It does seem likely that civil society initiatives will lead to the establishment of one or more tribunals operating without the benefit of governmental authorisation. Such tribunals became prominent in the Vietnam war when Bertrand Russell took the lead in establishing the Russell Tribunal. Since then the Permanent Peoples Tribunal based in Rome has organised more than 20 sessions on a variety of international topics that neither the UN nor governments will touch.

In 2005 the World Tribunal on Iraq, held in Istanbul, heard evidence from 54 witnesses, and its jury, presided over by the Indian novelist Arundhati Roy, issued a Declaration of Conscience that condemned the US and Britain for the invasion and occupation of Iraq, and named names of leaders in both countries who should be held criminally accountable.

The tribunal compiled an impressive documentary record as to criminal charges, and received considerable media attention, at least in the Middle East. Such an undertaking is attacked or ignored by the media because it is one-sided, and lacking in legal weight, but in the absence of formal action on accountability, such informal initiatives fill a legal vacuum, at least symbolically, and give legitimacy to non-violent anti-war undertakings.

Update at the end of 2023

Note added December 9, 2023: The civil society would be invited to call for a ceasefire in Gaza in a global referendum sponsored by the United Nations, according to an approach suggested to the UN Secretary-General in a letter from Mouvement de la Paix.

Note added December 30, 2023: South Africa has asked the International Court of Justice to rule on Israeli genocide against Palestine.

Here are the CPNN articles on this subject:

Last Days of Hearings at the International Court of Justice on the Israeli Occupation of Palestine

World Court to Review 57-Year Israeli Occupation

USA: 200+ Unions Launch Network to Push for Gaza Cease-Fire

BDS Movement: Act Now Against These Companies Profiting from the Genocide of the Palestinian People

South Africa Initiates Case Against Israel at International Court of Justice

UN Asked to Submit its Call for “An Immediate Ceasefire in Gaza” for Signature by the Peoples of the World

Israel-Palestine: The Role of International Justice

BRICS Countries Call to End Israel’s Aggression in Gaza

Human Rights Watch: Gaza: Unlawful Israeli Hospital Strikes Worsen Health Crisis and should be Investigated as War Crimes.

Mazin Qumsiyeh: Are we being duped to focus only on Gaza suffering?

UN Rights Chief Says Israel’s Collective Punishment in Gaza Is a War Crime

1,500+ Israelis Urge ICC Action on ‘War Crimes and Genocide’ in Gaza

Amnesty International: Damning evidence of war crimes as Israeli attacks wipe out entire families in Gaza

Elders warn of consequences of “one-state reality” in Israel and Palestine

The Western Sanctions That Are ‘Choking’ Syria May Be Crimes Against Humanity

Ceasefire can’t hide scale of destruction in Gaza, UN warns, as rights experts call for ICC probe

Human Rights Watch : Abusive Israeli Policies Constitute Crimes of Apartheid, Persecution

Remembering the Crimes of the Powerful Exposed by Wikileaks’ Julian Assange

US Media Ignore—and Applaud—Economic War on Venezuela

ICC judges order outreach to victims of war crimes in Palestine

English bulletin November 1, 2023

. SOLIDARITY WITH GAZA . .

“We’re watching a genocide unfold in real-time. In just three weeks, the Israeli military has killed over 8,000 Palestinians in Gaza, among them over 3,000 children,” Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) said early Monday (October 30). “That’s more than the annual number of children killed  in conflicts across the globe since 2019.” According to the United Nations, as of October 26, at least 45% of housing units have been destroyed or damaged.

In response, there is an unprecedented mobilization of solidarity with Gaza by millions of people around the world. As the Palestinian activist Mazin Qumsiyeh informs us, this will go down as the best documented holocaust in history.

As of October 23, we published photos of mass demonstrations in 42 countries, and a week later, on October 29, we published photos from 44 countries. As to be expected, the largest, involving millions of people, took place in predominantly Muslim countries, such as Pakistan, Yemen, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Iran, Malaysia, Iraq, Jordan, Morocco, Egypt, Qatar and Lebanon. In Turkey, the enormous demonstration was supported and addressed by President Erdogan.

Of great importance was the size of demonstrations in countries that support Israel. In the United Kingdom, London saw the biggest pro-Palestine demonstrations in British history. In the United States there were enormous demonstrations in New York, Chicago and San Francisco, among other cities. The demonstration of Jewish Voice for Peace that filled Grand Central Station in New York was part of a movement that has been called “the largest mass mobilization of Jews in American history.” A thousand demonstrators massed at Harvard University, the most prestigious university of the United States.

On October 28, Stockholm saw one of the largest protests in modern history, as thousands came out to support the people of Gaza. Despite attempts to ban their demonstrations, Palestinian supporters took to the streets in large numbers in Paris and Vienna. Other mass demonstrations took place in India, Nepal, Chile, Canada, Netherlands, Spain, Italy, Denmark, Australia, Brazil, New Zealand, Finland, Ireland, Greece, Switzerland, Norway, Belgium, Germany, Venezuela and even Poland and South Korea.

Amnesty International has documented unlawful Israeli attacks, including indiscriminate attacks, which caused mass civilian casualties and must be investigated as war crimes.

Calls for a ceasefire came from organizations around the world: not only Amnesty International, but also the United Nations General Assembly, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, and UN agencies including the World Food Programme, the World Health Organization, the UN Development Programme, the UN Population Fund, and UNICEF. Other organizations demanding a ceasefire include the World Organization of the Scout Movement, the World Council of Churches, Oxfam, Save the Children, the Gulf Cooperation Council and the Association of South East Asian Nations. Individuals include Pope Francis and the Archbishop of Canterbury. Heads of state include Chinese President Xi Jinping and from Brazil President Lula da Silva. The U.S. State Department has had to instruct American diplomats not to use the word “cease-fire” in press materials, following the resignation of one of their top diplomats to protest their support for Israel.

A public opinion poll in the United States shows that 66% of likely voters agree that “the U.S. should call for a cease-fire and deescalation of violence in Gaza” and “leverage its close diplomatic relationship with Israel to prevent further violence and civilian deaths.”

Traditional peace organizations called for non-violence by Hamas as well as Israel. As for the violence of Hamas, it has been likened to a “jail break”. According to the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian Territory, Israel’s military occupation has morphed the entire occupied Palestinian territory into an open-air prison, where Palestinians are constantly confined, surveilled and disciplined.

Despite the terrible toll of death and destruction, Mazin Qumsiyeh says “I am optimistic because the Zionist onslaught (targeting hospitals, schools, universities, bakeries, residential buildings, mosques, churches, wiping out whole families) has ignited the global uprising that I and others have been calling for and predicting for a long time. . . Just need to intensify the pressure because every day the US/Israel are allowed to go on means hundreds more killed. The sooner this nightmare ends, the closer we are to peace and justice.”

DISARMAMENT & SECURITY



Calls for ceasefire in Gaza

TOLERANCE & SOLIDARITY



The sea rescue association SOS MEDITERRANEE wins the Right Livelihood Award 2023

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT



Tourism at the International Day of Peace Has a Double Meaning

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION



RSF launches global “Collateral Damage” campaign highlighting the danger of the Assange prosecution to media and the public’s right to know

  

WOMEN’S EQUALITY



Yemeni peace laureate to deliver keynote speech on the matter in Cape Town today
w Collaborations And Collective Action At Women’s Conclave

EDUCATION FOR PEACE



Towards an African renaissance through culture and history

HUMAN RIGHTS



More Demonstrations for Palestine

DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION



3rd World March for Peace and Nonviolence officially launched in the Spanish Congress of Deputies

English bulletin August 1, 2023

NEWS FROM THE PALESTINE ISRAEL CONFLICT

“Israel’s military occupation has morphed the entire occupied Palestinian territory into an open-air prison, where Palestinians are constantly confined, surveilled and disciplined.” This is the conclusion of the latest report to the United Nations by its Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian Territory.

The report “finds that since 1967, over 800,000 Palestinians, including children as young as 12, have been arrested and detained under authoritarian rules enacted, enforced and adjudicated by the Israeli military. Palestinians are subject to long detention for expressing opinions, gathering, pronouncing unauthorised political speeches, or even merely attempting to do so, and ultimately deprived of their status of protected civilians. They are often presumed guilty without evidence, arrested without warrants, detained without charge or trial and brutalised in Israeli custody.”

Not surprisingly, the rapporteur, Francesca Albanese, is under vicious attacks by Israel and it supporters. This is described in detail in the an article from the Jordan News.

Another recent report comes from Mary Robinson, Chair of The Elders, former President of Ireland and UN High Commissioner of Human Rights, and Ban Ki-moon, Deputy Chair of The Elders and former UN Secretary-General, based on a three-day visit to Israel and Palestine.

They heard from Israeli, Palestinian and international human rights organisations about the “ever-growing evidence that the situation meets the international legal definition of apartheid: the expansion and entrenchment of illegal Jewish settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, the establishment of dual legal regimes and separation infrastructure in the occupied territories, and the institutionalised discrimination and abuses perpetrated against Palestinians. ”

Their report concludes that “The Government of Israel’s intent to exercise sovereignty over all the territory between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea undermines the democratic ideals of the Israeli state, denies the Palestinian people their right to self-determination, and risks an uncontrollable explosion of violence on both sides.”

An editorial from Argentina summarizes recent events that threaten the democratic ideals of the Israeli State, in particular a new law that reduced the power of the Supreme Court of Justice to challenge government decisions. The editorial concludes that “the concentration of power makes it almost impossible to remove the president despite holding elections. Israel would thus seek to progressively abandon its democratic character, essential to maintain strong ties with the West and, particularly, with its greatest ally in the world, the United States.”

However, Israelis are not accepting the reforms without protest. As the editorial says that the protests are the greatest in Israeli history: “For more than 30 weeks, hundreds of thousands of protesters defy rain, cold or heat, opposing a reform that they simply consider a coup d’état.”

We are reminded of the apartheid regime in South Africa that was defeated by the combination of struggle within South Africa and diplomatic and economic pressure from the rest of the world.

The movement to boycott, divest from, and sanction Israel’s regime of military occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid (BDS) continues to grow. A summary of BDS events over the past 18 years shows how this has developed.

The most recent BDS declaration comes from the American Anthropological Association, which voted to boycott Israeli academic institutions on the grounds that ““The Israeli state operates an apartheid regime from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea” and “Israeli academic institutions are complicit in the Israeli state’s regime of oppression against Palestinians… including by providing research and development of military and surveillance technologies used against Palestinians.”

Concerning the struggle by the Palestinians themselves, we publish two articles in CPNN this month.

The initiative Swim with Gaza proposes a solidarity swim with the children of Gaza on August 26: “Since 2007 the people of Gaza have been imprisoned. They have no parks, no mountains, no valleys. But they have the sea. Their only free space for fun. Let’s join them in the sea for a solidarity swim. Each year they have a swimming festival on Gaza beach. This year the Swimming Festival will be held on 26th August. So join in wherever you are – Egypt, Lebanon, South Africa, Morocco, Spain, Ireland, Brazil or Chile.”

Mazin Qumsiyeh, a Palestinian activist whom we quote often in CPNN, responds to the recent Israeli invasion of the city of Jenin including the Jenin Refugee camp. He asks himself the question of whether the Palestinian resistance can be non-violent or will it end in violence, and responds with a long quote from his friend, the historian Howard Zinn, including the following excerpt:

“We forget how often in this century we have been astonished by the sudden crumbling of institutions, by extraordinary changes in people’s thoughts, by unexpected eruptions of rebellion against tyrannies, by the quick collapse of systems of power that seemed invincible. To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness. What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places — and there are so many — where people behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction.”

HUMAN RIGHTS




Dismantle Israel’s carceral regime and “open-air” imprisonment of Palestinians: UN expert

TOLERANCE & SOLIDARITY



18 Years of BDS. 18 Years of Impact in Turning Darkness into Light

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT



G77 Statement to High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION



Comments on the Project for a National Program on Culture of Peace in Colombia

  

WOMEN’S EQUALITY



Global Women for Peace United Against NATO members

EDUCATION FOR PEACE



Promotion of the Culture of Peace in Africa – A Pan-African School of Peace in Yamoussoukro

DISARMAMENT & SECURITY



11th World Peace Forum held in Beijing

DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION



UCLG Africa and ACCORD are joining efforts to build a Culture of Peace in Africa

Are economic sanctions a violation of human rights?

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Here are some quotes from CPNN articles that raise this question.

2017: (We are) “convinced that ending the Korean War officially is an urgent, essential step for the establishment of enduring peace and mutual respect between the U.S. and the DPRK, as well as for the North Korean people’s full enjoyment of their basic human rights to life, peace and development – ending their long sufferings from the harsh economic sanctions imposed on them by the U.S. Government since 1950.”

2019: “Alfred de Zayas, the first UN special rapporteur to visit Venezuela in 21 years, told the Independent(1/26/19) that US, Canadian and European Union “economic warfare” has killed Venezuelans, noting that the sanctions fall most heavily on the poorest people and demonstrably cause death through food and medicine shortages, lead to violations of human rights and are aimed at coercing economic change in a “sister democracy.”

2019: “On 3 August 2018, the U.N.’s General Assembly received the report from the U.N.s Independent Expert on the Promotion of a Democratic and Equitable International Order, concerning his mission to Venezuela and Ecuador. . . . The effects of sanctions imposed by Presidents Obama and Trump and unilateral measures by Canada and the European Union have directly and indirectly aggravated the shortages in medicines such as insulin and anti-retroviral drugs. To the extent that economic sanctions have caused delays in distribution and thus contributed to many deaths, sanctions contravene the human rights obligations of the countries imposing them.Moreover, sanctions can amount to crimes against humanity under Article 7 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.”

2020: Nobel Peace Laureate Mairead Maguire: “The USA should lift sanctions placed on Iran, North Korea, Cuba, etc., and all 54 countries where these sanctions bring death and destruction to citizens, leaving their governments with no money for medicine and food or to help them cope with the coronavirus.”

2020: The People’s Coalition on Food Sovereignty : “International sanctions that include food and agriculture trade are war crimes. Moreover, blanket economic sanctions decimate nation’s livelihoods and developing countries’ international trade relations. Countries like Sudan, Zimbabwe, Iran, Syria, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea are suffering from sanctions initiated and backed by US and its G20 allies – severely limiting their policy options in facing a pandemic like the coronavirus. In Venezuela and Bolivia, the US tried to put into power political allies using sanctions that created shortages and economic restrictions that the population suffered through within the script of the Hybrid War. The economic and financial embargo imposed by the US against Cuba has impeded export of goods and services, procurement of resources, and trade since 1958. In particular, food trade, access to medicine and medical supplies, and exchange of scientific knowledge were greatly restricted, impacting the Cuban peoples for many decades.”

2021: “The UN Special Rapporteur on unilateral coercive measures and human rights, Alena Douhan, today [12 February] urged the United States, European Union and other States to drop unilateral sanctions imposed against Venezuela. At the end of a two-week visit to Venezuela, Douhan said the sanctions have exacerbated pre-existing calamities. They have resulted in the economic, humanitarian and development crisis, with a devastating effect on the whole population of Venezuela, especially but not only those in extreme poverty, women, children, medical workers, people with disabilities or life-threatening or chronic diseases, and the indigenous populations.”

2022: “The United Nations special rapporteur said the “outrageous” sanctions the West has imposed on Syria are “suffocating” millions of civilians and “may constitute crimes against humanity.” The country’s economy contracted 90%. Nine out of 10 Syrians live in poverty.”

2023: “Mexican president Andrés Manuel López Obrador, said he had personally urged Biden to attack the root causes of migration to the US southern border, namely the “poverty and abandonment” endemic to those countries — and which US sanctions have unquestionably played a major role in causing.”

The sanctions against Cuba are universally condemned by the United Nations and Human Rights organizations. Quoting Wikipedia, “The United Nations General Assembly has passed a resolution every year since 1992 demanding the end of the U.S. economic embargo on Cuba, with the U.S. and Israel being the only nations to consistently vote against the resolutions. . . . Human-rights groups including Amnesty International,[2] Human Rights Watch,[18] and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights[19] have also been critical of the embargo. . . . In 1997, the American Association for World Health stated that the embargo contributed to malnutrition, poor water access, lack of access to medicine and other medical supplies and concluded that “a humanitarian catastrophe has been averted only because the Cuban government has maintained a high level of budgetary support for a health care system designed to deliver primary and preventative medicine to all its citizens.”

Finally, should sanctions be considered as terrorism? Keep in mind that the definition of terrorism, according to Oxford Dictionary is “the unlawful use of violence and intimidation, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political aims.”

* * * * * * * * * * * *

This question applies to the following CPNN articles:

Only Israel, the United States, and Ukraine refuse to stand with Cuba

The Washington Consensus Supporting Sanctions on Cuba and Venezuela Is Breaking

The Western Sanctions That Are ‘Choking’ Syria May Be Crimes Against Humanity

UN human rights expert urges to lift unilateral sanctions against Venezuela

People’s Coalition on Food Sovereignty: Nine Demands for Food and Rights

Nobel Laureate Mairead Maguire: Do Not Be Afraid…. All Will Be Well….

What the Press Hides from You about Venezuela — A Case of News-Suppression

US Media Ignore—and Applaud—Economic War on Venezuela

USA: Sign The People’s Peace Treaty with North Korea

Is language a human right?

Language as a human right is not explicitly mentioned in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

For this reason, a commission of the international organization PEN drafted a document on linguistic rights that was submitted to UNESCO in 1996.

One of the articles in the document declared the following collective rights for language groups:

* the right for their own language and culture to be taught;

* the right of access to cultural services;

* the right to an equitable presence of their language and culture in the communications media;

* the right to receive attention in their own language from government bodies and in socioeconomic relations

The document was “ noted with interest” by the UNESCO Executive Board, but was not adopted as official policy, perhaps because it was so long and complicated.

The question may be raised again now that we enter the International Decade of Indigenous Languages 2022-2032..
.
_____________

Below are articles in CPNN about this question:

Africa confronts linguistic imperialism with Kiswahili

Abortion: is it a human right?

Here is the response of Amnesty International:

Access to safe abortion is an essential component of a fair and equal society, and is integral to realizing the full range of human rights, Amnesty International said today. The organization has published its updated policy on abortion that aligns with evolving human rights law and standards. The policy equips the organization to undertake stronger campaigning and advocacy around abortion and to better support local movements advancing sexual and reproductive rights.

The updated policy recognizes abortion, provided in a manner that respects human rights, autonomy, and dignity, as the right of anyone who can become pregnant. Amnesty International is also calling for universal access to safe abortion and related care and information, in addition to full decriminalization.

Around 47,000 women die each year as a result of seeking unsafe abortions. This global tragedy will not end until abortion is fully decriminalized and made accessible and affordable to everyone.

Rajat Khosla, Senior Director of Research and Advocacy.
“Around 47,000 women die each year as a result of seeking unsafe abortions. This global tragedy will not end until abortion is fully decriminalized and made accessible and affordable to everyone. Abortion must be treated like any other health service, and anyone seeking an abortion must be treated with compassion and dignity and with respect for their human rights,” said Rajat Khosla, Amnesty International’s Senior Director of Research and Advocacy.

“Our updated policy was developed in consultation with human rights experts, medical providers and the Amnesty movement, and informed by years of research and engagement with women and girls whose lives have been shattered by restrictive laws. We will continue to demand that governments respect reproductive autonomy, and campaign for safe abortion access for anyone who seeks it, without discrimination, coercion or stigma.”

The updated policy is endorsed by the International Federation of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (FIGO), which represents national societies of medical professionals in 132 countries and territories.

International legal norms and standards around abortion have undergone a substantial evolution in the past decade. In line with these changes, Amnesty International has updated its position to ensure it is better-placed to challenge the full range of human rights violations due to criminalization of abortion, to advocate for removal of all barriers to safe abortion and to promote reproductive, gender and economic justice.

Amnesty International’s updated policy:

Recognizes that anyone who can become pregnant has the right to an abortion

Calls for universal access to safe abortion, as early as possible and as late as necessary, and for provision of post-abortion care and evidence-based abortion-related information

Recognizes that decisions around pregnancy and abortion directly impact the full spectrum of human rights

Calls for removing abortion from criminal and other punitive laws and policies, and to stop punishing women, girls and all pregnant people, healthcare providers and others for obtaining, assisting with, or providing abortion services

Calls for reforming laws and policies that limit abortion access to specific circumstances

Confirms that human rights protections start at birth, in line with international law

Calls on states to fulfil economic and social rights by promoting policies that empower pregnant people to make free decisions about their reproductive lives – including through access to health care, social security and the means to obtain an adequate standard of living.

“Abortion is not an isolated issue. Denying people the right to make decisions about their own bodies perpetuates gender and economic inequality, and entrenches stigma and discrimination,” said Rajat Khosla.

“We recognize that abortion is a deeply complex subject, but punitive approaches do not address the many social, economic and personal issues that shape people’s decisions to end their pregnancies. Full decriminalization of abortion is essential to protect human rights and prevent further deaths and injuries due to unsafe abortions.”

This question pertains to the following articles

English bulletin June 1, 2021

SOLIDARITY WITH THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE .

As they suffered attacks from Israel which, according to the United Nations experts and Amnesty International, may end up being condemned as crimes of war, there was a global movement of solidarity with the people of Palestine.

It was as if the Israeli government and military wanted to prove the allegations, as described in last month’s CPNN bulletin, that they are imitating the apartheid policies of South Africa half a century ago.

The Israeli attacks began against Palestinians who protested forced evictions of their countrymen living in the neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah in East Jerusalem. Amnesty International condemned the evictions and what they called “repeated, unwarranted and excessive force against Palestinian protesters in occupied East Jerusalem.” After that the Israeli attacks were broadened into a war against Gaza, where, according to the UN, “222 people, including 63 children, were killed . . . More than 450 buildings in the Gaza Strip were completely destroyed or damaged by missiles, the statement continued. Among them were six hospitals, nine healthcare centres and a water desalination plant, supplying around 250,000 Palestinians with clean drinking water, as well as a tower which housed media outlets including the Al Jazeera network, and Associated Press (AP).” The war was almost completely one-sided, as the UN said that only “12 people died in Israel as a result of the fighting.”

The list of solidarity events with the people of Palestine was global in scope, including events listed from almost all of the 50 states of the USA and 27 cities of the UK. Also in Europe: Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Canary Islands, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland, Also in the Americas: Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala. In Asia/Pacific there were events in Australia, Bangladesh, New Zealand and Pakistan, while in Africa: Morocco and South Africa.

Photos showed huge mobilizations in London, New York City, Washington, D.C., Beirut and Pakistan.

In addition to the international solidarity movement, there were mobilzations for peace in Palestine and Israel.

According to our source in Palestine, “Today [May 18] will go down in history as one of the most powerful days of Palestinian non-violence resistance against the Israeli aggressions. Palestinians across the occupied West Bank, Gaza, and inside Israel took part in “GENERAL STRIKE” to protest against the Israeli occupation, aggressions in Jerusalem, and the bombardment in Gaza!!”

In Israel, thousands of Jews and Arabs rallied in Tel-Aviv in a mass march and rally for peace and coexistence, organized by the movements “Standing Together” and “Breaking the Silence”.

The solidarity movements made use of social media, despite attempts by facebook to censor them, according to a letter to facebook signed by many well-established progressive movements in the United States. They wrote that “Facebook executives’ decision at this moment to directly collaborate with Israeli Defense and Justice Minister Gantz on content moderation, without appropriate parity of government engagement until prompted by civil society, is beyond outrageous. . . . Facebook must take . . . urgent and crucial steps to repair this mistrust with our communities and ensure that we can count on Facebook and Instagram as free civic spaces and tools for holding governments accountable:”

In response to the question as to what people can do to support the Palestinian struggle for freedom, justice and equality, the BDS movement has listed five kinds of actions, including the kinds of international moral, economic and political pressure that contributed to the end of South African Apartheid.

Can we imagine that freedom, justice and equality will eventually be achieved as was the case in South Africa? The answer is “Yes,” according to this month’s blog for the culture of peace.

TOLERANCE & SOLIDARITY

London

People Around the World Stand Up in Solidarity With Palestine

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION

Amada1
Nonviolent Response to the Crisis in Colombia

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

manif

France: March for the Climate: Thousands Demonstrate in Paris

DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION

Haiti

Haiti: CNDDR workshop finalizes its national disarmament strategy

In addition to articles, we list virtual events for the culture of peace: Click here for upcoming events. Last month we registered 13 virtual events.

  

WOMEN’S EQUALITY

podcast

Think African Podcast Episode 1: Planting Seeds

DISARMAMENT & SECURITY

Brisbane

Australia : Brisbane Weapons Expo Protest Planned

HUMAN RIGHTS


Amnesty

Amnesty International : End brutal repression of Palestinians protesting forced displacement in occupied East Jerusalem

EDUCATION FOR PEACE

Quintana

Mexico: Quintana Roo celebrated a unique virtual hip hop festival in Maya language

What is the legacy of Nelson Mandela for us today?


This question applies to the following articles in CPNN:

UN Secretary-General: Tackling Inequality: A New Social Contract for a New Era

SADC and United Nations honor Nelson Mandela

South Africa: Sisulu – UN Security Council Tenure Will Be Dedicated to Mandela’s Legacy

Mandela’s vision for a better world

On Mandela Day, UN joins call to promote community service and inspire change

Mandela Day 2014: how will you be an ethical leader?

Song for International Day of Nelson Mandela

Do not turn off the light – a book review

Mandela is the new Africa

UN Secretary-General’s Statement on the Death of Nelson Mandela

Minister Nkoana-Mashabane pays tribute to former President Nelson Mandela

Rights of the child, How can they be promoted and protected?

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) is a legally-binding international agreement setting out the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of every child, regardless of their race, religion or abilities.

The Convention consists of 54 articles that set out children’s rights and how governments should work together to make them available to all children.

Under the terms of the convention, governments are required to meet children’s basic needs and help them reach their full potential. Central to this is the acknowledgment that every child has basic fundamental rights. These include the right to:

Life, survival and development

Protection from violence, abuse or neglect

An education that enables children to fulfil their potential

Be raised by, or have a relationship with, their parents

Express their opinions and be listened to.

In 2000, two optional protocols were added to the UNCRC. One asks governments to ensure children under the age of 18 are not forcibly recruited into their armed forces. The second calls on states to prohibit child prostitution, child pornography and the sale of children into slavery. These have now been ratified by more than 120 states.

Here are the CPNN articles on this subject:

Fourth Paris Peace Forum ends with a series of initiatives

Iran: Educational program for parents was held by the First National Campaign to Prevent Child Abuse in IRAN

Bangladesh: Rohingya children get access to education

PAYNCoP Gabon Partners with the National Youth Council to Stop Violence against Youth

The Global Campaign for the Prevention of Child Marriage

Iran: 3000 signature campaign for child abuse prevention

The carnage against Gaza civilian protesters

Amnesty International: Israeli forces must end the use of excessive force in response to “Great March of Return” protests

Israel/OPT: Palestinian child activist Ahed Tamimi sentenced to 8 months in prison

Cuba a ‘Champion’ of Children’s Rights: UNICEF

Nobel Laureate leads historic march across India to keep children safe

Click here for earlier articles on this subject.