The Global Digest


Buddhist leader Thich Quang Do calls for nationwide demonstration to protest Chinese expansionism in Vietnam

Rev. Thich Quang Do

Thich Quang Do addresses farmers in Ho Chi Minh City demonstrating against state confiscation of lands in July 2007. Thich Quang Do addresses farmers in Ho Chi Minh City demonstrating against state confiscation of lands in July 2007.

PARIS, 28 June 2012 (IBIB) – The International Buddhist Information Bureau has received an urgent communication from the Most Venerable Thich Quang Do, Patriarch of the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam (UBCV), sent clandestinely from the Thanh Minh Zen Monastery where he is under de facto house arrest. Deeply disturbed by increasing Chinese incursions on Vietnamese waters and lands, the UBCV leader and 2012 Nobel Peace Prize nominee called for a nationwide demonstration on Sunday 1st July 2012 to protest Chinese expansionism and press the Hanoi government to take a firm stand to protect Vietnam’s national integrity.

This appeal is prompted by the recent invitation by the China National Offshore Oil Corporation for international bids on nine oil and gas lots which are situated deep inside Vietnam’s 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone and continental shelf. At the same time, the Chinese media has launched a series of threats against Vietnam, demanding that the National Assembly “rectify its errors” by repealing the recently-adopted Law of the Sea which affirms Vietnamese sovereignty over the Paracel and Spratly islands.

For Thich Quang Do, 84, this is just the last in a series of increasingly brazen violations of Vietnamese sovereignty by its northern neighbour. Indeed, Thich Quang Do was amongst the first to alert international opinion to the grave dangers of Chinese expansionism in Vietnam, such as environmental and security threats caused by the influx of thousands of Chinese workers to mine bauxite in the Central highlands in 2007; Hanoi’s 50-year leasing to China of forest regions along the northern Vietnamese borders; the capture and killings of Vietnamese fishermen in China’s moves to appropriate the Paracel and Spratly islands.

Faced with the inconsistent and irresolute attitude of the Hanoi authorities, Thich Quang Do launched the following appeal:

“Recognizing the danger of a new Chinese domination of our homeland, the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam calls upon all Vietnamese at home and abroad, irrespective of opinion, religion, gender or age, to stage demonstrations on 1st July 2012 in order to denounce Chinese incursions and protect the sovereignty of our nation” (see full text below).


“To all religious leaders, intellectuals, members of political parties, youth movements, students, young people and all Vietnamese at home and abroad, “For thousands of years, China has systematically sought to invade our country by one way or another. It has never abandoned the “Great Han” expansionist dream.

“Today, the Paracel and Spratly islands, as well as significant areas of northern Vietnam are under China’s control. Chinese settlers have been sent to occupy the Central highlands and mountainous regions in ten Vietnamese provinces under different forms, such as working on bauxite mining projects or renting forest areas for long-term periods of periods of 50 years and more.

“China has established the “Sansha City” covering the islands of Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) which historically belong to Vietnam. “Since 2005, China has shot and killed Vietnamese fishermen, confiscating their ships and property. It has arrested Vietnamese fishermen and even demanded ransom for their release like common bandits.

“China has blatantly and brazenly violated our sovereignty. Yet the Vietnamese authorities, caught up in their pledges of friendship and the Chinese motto of “16 golden words and 4 rules of good relationship”, have not clearly distinguished between friend and foe. So far, their protests have been formal and feeble, only helping to stimulate China’s momentum in encroaching even further into our waters and lands with total impunity.

“At the same time, Hanoi has opened its northern borders, allowing the free flow of Chinese into our country which Hanoi is powerless to control.

“Chinese settlers have set up “Chinatowns” and off-limits zones in provinces such as Binh Duong, Lam Dong and many other places where Vietnamese are forbidden to tread. “And now, China has brazenly launched an invitation for international bids on nine oil and gas lots that are within Vietnamese territorial waters.

“Recognizing the danger of a new Chinese domination of our homeland, the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam calls upon all Vietnamese people, at home and abroad, irrespective of their opinions, religion, gender or age, to stage public demonstrations on 1st July 2012 in order to denounce Chinese incursions and protect the sovereignty of our nation.

“I pray for the safety and security of our homeland. May all the heroes, both men and women, who have protected Vietnam throughout our history, be with us as we stand together today against foreign domination. “I wish the Vietnamese people success in their commitment and action”.

Saigon, 28 June 2012 On behalf of the UBCV Bi-Cameral Council Patriarch of the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam (signature) Sramana Thich Quang Do


Jun 18, 2012

Seema Azad and her husband Vishwa Vijay

Dear friends,

26th June, 2012 it will be 37 years since the emergency was imposed in 1975. If we see out present times, it is clear that an undeclared emergency persists with life and liberty of the people of India being the biggest casualty. The increase is not only on the attack on the life and liberty of ordinary people but also human rights defenders wherein a large number of people find themselves booked on false charges and inside the Jail without bail being granted to them.

The use of the IPC and over fifty draconian laws legislated by the center and various States has made such violation very easy, legitimizing the police acts.

Disappearances, False cases and illegal detentions have become rampant in the name of fighting Maoism and Terrorism. It is as though a new wave of counter terrorism has been launched to terrorize people belonging to Minorities, Tribals and Dalit communities and those fighting to save their land, water and forests. Men and women are picked up, some times snatched by one agency from another and presented to the world as dreaded Maoists or Terrorists. A section of the judiciary too refuses to see the fabrication of cases or the profiling that is happening and ends up endorsing the decision of the police and the Government.

The most recent and shocking example is the conviction for LIFE of Seema Azad (Journalist, editor Dastak and the PUCL Uttar Pradesh Organizing Secretary) along with her husband Vihwa Vijay, by a district court in Allahabad against charges of Waging War against Government of India which is Section 121 of the Indian Penal Code. She has also been punished under sec 121(A) of the IPC-conspiracy of waging war, criminal conspiracy sec 120 (B) of the IPC along with section 13, 18, 20, 38 and 30 of the UAPA, 2004 and 2008 amended. In all these sections except section 13 they have been sentenced to rigorous imprisonment of a minimum of ten years.

It is all the more shocking that this harsh punishment was delivered when the entire evidence in this case was based on heresy and on the basis of supposedly possessing incriminating materials along with the seizure of mobiles. Seema who is only 36 years of age, a student of astronomy and social change has been condemned by the lower court to be behind bars all her life.

This decision is completely unacceptable and has to be fought tooth and nail on all fronts. The criminal appeal will be filed shortly, however, it should also be our effort to expose this judgement and demand their release. Many of us organizations have decided to observe anti emergency day this year as one demanding the unconditional release of Seema Azad and Vishwa Vijay and other prisoners who have been wrongly booked and detained under these draconian laws in the various jails of the country. We would also like to raise our voice demanding the Repeal of all draconian laws. A campaign towards this end would be announced in the meeting.

We would like to request all of you to join us for the Convention on the Attack on the life and liberty of People taking place on the 26th June at 5 pm at the Gandhi Peace Foundation in Delhi.

We also take this opportunity to give a call to all PUCL branches and other Human Rights Organizations to make similar demands on the Anti Emergency day whether it be the 25-26 of June.

We are, People's Union for Civil Liberties, Jan Hastakshep, Confederation for Democracy (CFD), People's Union for Democratic Rights (PUDR), Champa – The Amiya & B.G. Rao Foundation, Jan Saskriti Manch, Samkaleen Teesri Duniya, NAPM, HRLN, AIPWA, NFFWFP, Safai Karamchari Andolan, INSAF, FFPHRD, AISA, Samyantar,, Vihaan, PDFI along with several writers, thinkers and activists ,

Campaign schedule

26th JUNE, 2012, 5 pm onwards, Gandhi Peace Foundation, N. Delhi


Contact Persons:

Mahipal Singh: 09312206414 N D Pancholi: 09811099532 Anand Swaroop Verma: 09810720714 Bhasha Singh: 09818755922 Chittranjan Singh: 09415249770


Dalit Issues - National Advisory Council

Lowest caste Dalit in India

To Sri. Harsh Mander- Joint Convenor Ms. Farah Naqvi - Joint Convenor Working Group-Dalit Issues National Advosory Council, Govt. Of India 2 Moti Lal Nehru Place, Akbar Road, New Delhi -110011.

Dear Sri Harsh Mander and Ms. Farah Naqvi,


We would like to express thanks to the Working Group Dalit Issues - National Advisory Council for the ‘Draft Recommendations containing Essential Elements of the Implementation Framework of Scheduled Castes Sub-Plan (SCSP)'. They detail the institutional arrangements for central and state governments, the required planning process, preparation of Annual Plans, appraisals by the ministries or Nodal departments, Non-divertability and Non-lapsability of SCSP funds and the Monitoring required. We welcome these recommendation.

However Dalit leaders, human rights and other civil society organisations are extremely disappointed that the NAC working Group Dalit Issues has ignored the earlier recommendation for a Central Legislation for the SCSP.

We would like to remind the Working Group on Dalit Issues of NAC that similar guidelines have already been issued by the Planning Commission (vide D.O. No. M-13011/3/2005-SP-Co, dated October 31, 2005) more than 6 years ago. Despite the Guidelines there was a colossal denial of allocations and diversions and notional allocations of funds to SCSP. In the XIth Plan period (2007-08 till 2011-12), in the Central Govt Budget there was a denial of allocation of funds to the tune of Rs. Cr.1,42,865.20 to the SCSP and TSP as there was no accountability of the concerned ministries nor of the Planning Commission.

This gross and willful negligence of State and its functionaries towards SCs and STs in matters of their economic development is clearly due to the lack of a legislation building entitlements in the SCSP.

We, representing several Dalit and Human Rights Organisations therefore, strongly urge the Working Group Dalit Issues of National Advisory Council to recommend for a Central Legislation as part of the Reforms for Scheduled Castes Sub Plan currently being drafted.

Thanking you and With Regards

9 June 2012

THAILAND: Reaffirmed with the Lower Court, Appeals Court refusing to revoke post mortem inquest order made on the deaths of Tak Bai demonstrators

Jun 8, 2012

The Tak Bai police station in Thailand's Narathiwat Province

At 09.00 am, on 8 June 12, an order of the Appeals Court was read concerning a motion brought by the relatives of 34 slain victims of the Tak Bai incident, who filed to request the revocation of a post mortem inquest order made by the Provincial Court of Songkhla in 2009 (B.E.2552). It was claimed that the post mortem inquest order was in breach of provisions of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand and previously, the motion had been dismissed by the Lower Court.

The complainants decided to appeal the case and the Appeals Court made the ruling today that “Reviewing issues to deliberate, the Criminal Court decision should it have jurisdiction over the case. It was deemed that the post mortem inquest order had been made by the Provincial Court of Songkhla, and Ms. Masta and others have filed a motion against the order with the Court. The Appeals Court deems that it does not have the right to review the motion, since it is prohibited as per Section 15 of the Law for the Organization of Courts of Justice, B.E. 2535. The Appeals Court thus reaffirmed with the Lower Court to not to accept to review the case filed by Ms. Masta and others, altogether 34 persons, and dismisses the case”.

The case stems from an order made by the Provincial Court of Songkhla on 29 May 2009 for a post mortem inquest regarding the deaths of 78 demonstrators while they were transferred from the demonstration site in front of the Tak Bai Police Station in Narathiwat to the Ingkhayuth Borihan Army Camp in Nong Chik District, Pattani on 25 Oct 2004 (BE 2547). In the order of the Court, it was ruled that the 78 people had died of suffocation while being held in custody by officials who had carried out their official duties.

Relatives of the victims found the order unjust and in breach of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand including: Sections 3, 27, 28, 32, and 197 and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) including: Articles 2, 6, 7, and 14 and in breach of Section 150 of Thailand’s Criminal Procedure Code (CPC).

According to these provisions, state officials have to carry out their duties based on the rule of law and respect for human dignity, liberty and equality. But according to testimonies of witnesses in this case, it was found that the act of duties by government officials, which caused many deaths in custody during the transportation of the Tak Bai demonstrators, had not been conducted correctly and fairly. Thus, on 29 June 2009, 34 relatives of the victims decided to file a case to revoke the post mortem inquest order made by the Provincial Court of Songkhla citing their rights provided by the Constitution and given that the Criminal Court has universal jurisdiction all over the territory. According to Section 150 of CPC, the post mortem inquest order of the Provincial Court of Songkhla shall be treated as final and therefore a motion of appeals could not have been filed with the Court of higher instance there. Earlier the Criminal Court decided to dismiss the motion claiming that since the Criminal Court and the Provincial Court of Songkhla are both the Courts of Justice of the First Instance, the Criminal Court could accept to review the case. Then, on 29 July 2009, the relatives appealed the case and then came the order of the Appeals Court as mentioned above.

For more information, please contact;

Mr. Ratsada Manooratsada, attorney, phone 081-4394938 Ms. Pavinee Chumsri, attorney, phone 083-1896598

Online Freedom, Academic Fraud and Discontent: Why I have not named names in this case, or its predecessor leading up to this case?

Special Report
By Layne Hartsell
Jun 12, 2012

Layne Hartsell, Professor at Sungkyunkwan University

The Principle

In this ongoing issue, the real issue is one of freedom to speak as Mr. Brent Bennett wrote on the petition page; and freedom from harassment, and to have a reasonable work environment. Layne, ‘why don’t you just tell who is doing all of this?’ ‘you can say who they are’ Came the question from an advisor. Many are asking to know what happened.

Current, June 11, 2012

The current case for which this petition page is here, is an extension of a situation, which has been ongoing this entire semester. I have refrained from immediately naming names of others, because I do not believe the issue to be about one person, and thus, I do not want to see one person isolated from a group and hurt. In the rhetorical, like cutting off a bad appendage, so the group can continue on with contacting employers and censorship of reasonable posts. This is the logic I have used. Where there is specific evidence already given to authorities, documented with names, I have added [doc] in the notes below.

March 2012 to present

The background of the entire issue is simply that I have challenged a clique in the university office where I work: crimes like harassment, physical threats, defamatory postings on Youtube and facebook about folks in the office, manipulation of students - some harassment directed at others, some at me recently.[doc] I do not believe these actions to be the way to solve a problem, and thus, have given me a certain amount of strength to endure any difficulties, along with the principles given above. This is the background for the current conflict you see here on this page.

Specifically, the preceding issue at the university (spring semester), involves the ‘AAMBC’ administrator and his friends or office clique, from March until now. And, that issue has become entangled in the current case, by his intention to use the AAMBC administrator position for his own use to post something using my name on the blog with more than 8,000 teachers, thus violating a police order already in place. Regardless of a legal issue, just the comment itself could have been challenged and reported to his co-admins. This led to my threat of legal action. I have been accused of taking out a personal vendetta, but in our view, it is the other way around. In fact, I have never met this person, though I know who he is. More below…

The originating problem in March arose from my protest of his friends which I have called a clique (some actions including him) at the office for coercive labor measures against the university such as brow beating, and inciting suspicion; office harassment, such as near merciless mistreatment of one woman professor who bravely and openly revealed that she was taking antidepressant medications; blatant, racist comments; violence – to give some clear examples. These people are gangsters; what are they doing here…to quote one highly placed Sungkyunkwan professor.

The group tends to find glee in their focus on mental health issues, such as the woman above. They enjoy psychological analyses of myself, which I happened to find quite comical, as did my wife, (because she knows me): I was diagnosed by the clique as having imaginary friends; told to take some kind of pills; that they can recommend a hospital because they are doing me a favor; something about jail or prison etc and so on. [doc] “Layne is delusional because he thinks he works in nanoscience.” They go on an on about these kinds of things, openly, and predictably. Recently, they have been using their position to tell students. [doc] These kinds of comments do provide comic relief from a tense situation. However, I do not think they intend the entertainment. Students do not find it amusing.

A more important issue, is that the office group also managed to plagiarize a textbook which would have been used by perhaps 20,000 students over the next four years. Fortunately, the book was caught, by the university review board made up of peers, before it was published – thus, averting a disaster for the school. In April, I challenged the group’s actions, and called for the group to return the money to the students, which the group had been paid as advance on the textbook, since it was student money. Korean students are having a very difficult time with tuition, and their parents would not be happy knowing of this textbook issue. It is these kinds of actions, which the Korean people do not like, and see in a small few of the teaching community, aside from the partying culture depicted in the MBC video.

The challenge to the office clique led to the difficulty I experience, and what you observe on this page, today. At the time (April), I filed a counter-noncontact order with the police after physical threats came towards me – even was escorted to classes by student activists with the police waiting in the station should their involvement be necessary. My filing for the order was the natural, next step to protect my wife and myself. My wife studies at the university and I don’t want her harassed. The university admin, the Dean, also released a strongly supportive letter to me. However, I did not see the letter until later, since remarkably it was stolen by one in the office clique, and was distributed within three or four people, their friends on campus, and their online friends, as I understand. I received the letter from the Dean of the Collage later, quite shocked, by what had occurred.


Since then, there has been underlying tension, which erupted when in the last week (approx. June 1st), one, or more members from the university office, moved over to work with the online activist group, ‘Action Against MBC’. As mentioned above, the one administrator proceeded to use my name there in an open forum of 8,000 members. I responded with a protest and legal threat. The next day (June 5, ~11:34am), he went to the university office and complained about ‘our’ online issue. Naturally, I countered with a legal threat, having already retained a legal team, months ago. I also notified the owner of the page with the actions of his administrator, and was promptly banned from the page. The owner of the page threatened, ‘I will be contacting your employer tomorrow and tell them about you.’ There were a number of angry messages back and forth. No evidence was given whether the administrator had been fired or not. And, we do not know who if anyone in the AAMBC has called the university. Thus, the AAMBC administrators have misled their group; the members are not responsible for the actions their leadership. (I would like to add one point in favor of the AAMBC owner/leader – he has been overwhelmed with a lot of activity on his webpage which grew rapidly due to another issue, last week.)

At that point, I talked to some friends and the petition page was put up, which you see here. It is both a protective mechanism, a way to let others know what happened, and to demand an apology.

One comment: The list here is being used by those acting on behalf of AAMBC or on their own, to contact and pressure some of you to leave the petition. We do not have any direct evidence that actual AAMBC admins are involved in any way.

In summary

In the AAMBC case I have protested the group or leadership because the case involves two of their administrators, one of which is the owner of the page. I think most people would see that as significant. Therefore, I do not want one person to be scapegoated and deleted as if he were the only one involved. There may have been more, but we do not know how the group works. And, giving this person’s name in the media would have serious consequences for future employment etc.

For the same reason above, in the university office case, I challenged the writing group, not just one person, because as a group they managed to act together. Again, I do not seek to isolate one person and use names, which would have employment consequences in the future.

Challenging a group when it acts in such ways, takes more strength, but it is more accurate and correct (or just) to do so. Individuals are affected by the various competitive conditions of their lives and thus are far more vulnerable, and can easily be scapegoated.

It is true that I have been pressed to give the names, and strangely enough, others have said that I am afraid to do so, but there is no legal issue preventing me if my statements are factual as I know them. Evidence has been provided and thus cleared legally.

Unfortunately, over the past few weeks, I have been notified by students that foreigners at the office group has been telling ‘bad things about you, Hartsell.’ ‘But, we don’t believe them.’ Just this afternoon another student came to me, very upset. Over the semester, I had refrained from saying anything to students, because these issues are not for them. My response today to the student, was to instruct him let the admin know. He could verify the actual story with the university administration. It seems that the classroom podium has been used for such deceit. [doc] Because of past threats, and the current issue, I was given permission to hold classes in another building and am finishing the semester here.

Where to go from here?

1/ We would just repeat the demand made on this page for an apology to Sungkyunkwan University from the online AAMBC group administrators.
2/ We would make an additional demand that the money paid in advance for the textbook be returned to the students’ fund.

[all documentation for my claims have been given to university authorities and legal authorities; some parts have been provided to the social media outlets only for verification of claims]

NAPM Condemns Builder-Police Repression and Demolitions at Koliwada

Special Report
By Madhuri Shivkar

Shri Prithviraj Chavan

Demands Justice for the Fisherfolk and Original Dwellers of the Land

Mumbai May 31st, 2012: Despite severe resistance by the traditional fisher folk in Sion Koliwada, the Mumbai police and Bombay Municipal Corporation (BMC) have been going ahead with its demolition drive. The municipal officials, accompanied by the private builder, Mr. Sudhakar Shetty and a huge contingent of the RAF police today ruthlessly razed down the house of Kalpesh Shivkar of the Koliwada community. Despite the police and private security of the builder attempting to drive away the other community people who were protesting and resisting the demolition, the people were keen to stand by Kalpesh and afford support. About 50-100 women and men have been arrested while they were trying to give protection to Kalpesh’s family and neighbours whose house was demolished and needed shelter, since monsoon is at doorstep. The women were physically assaulted by the male police, who also pulled them by their hair. All this brutality by the police is totally condemnable. Surprisingly, after the demolition, while the people were trying to re-erect the houses, the builder brought in 20 muslim women to occupy the same place, which the locals questioned.

National Alliance of People’s Movements and Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao (GBGB) Andolan wholly condemns this brutal move of the administration to evict the people from their decades old settlements, for no cogent public purpose, rather for the vested interests of a private real estate lobby. The demolition is not only unjustifiable, but is also fully illegal and in violation of the legal rights of the residents. GBGB also questions the entire project as a fraudulent one since false consent has been shown by the community, signatures of the locals have been manoeuvred and other serious irregularities have been committed by the developers. It is fact that more than 80% of the residents have not consented to the project, which makes the very project illegal.

It is shocking to note that the police has not yet registered cases filed by the people over the past few days as FIRs, ever since the eviction drive began. Moreover, despite the people pointing out specifically as to how certain police officials / personnel are siding with the builders and have demanded suspension of such officers, no action has been taken in this regard. The only ‘assurance’ that the police has given so far is to protect the municipal officials who may face any ‘harm’, during the demolition process. We express our deep disdain towards this approach of the State and seek to challenge the illegal arrests and detentions being made by the police for questioning the unlawful demolitions.

It may be noted that Koliwada, an indigenous fisherfolk Community has been living in the area even prior to independence. In 1939, the British constructed NSP sheds for their own security purposes and they were asked to move to this. These NSP Sheds then were taken over by the Municipal Corporation after Independence. Even though these fisher people have lived on the land for more than a century they have been denied their "right to land", due to the unfair policies of the Britishers as well as BMC. Now in the name of so-called ‘development’, the State is evicting them and giving away the prime property to the Builders. The people continue to face the might of the JCBs, police and State with their resolve in non-violent, democratic struggle.

Please do condemn the atrocities against the original inhabitants of Mumbai.

Do Fax your letters of protest to the Chief Minister and Home Minister, demanding them to:

Break the growing unholy nexus between the politicians – police – builders in Mumbai. Suspend the police officials, especially male police, who have used unjust force against the people and have abused the women and men in the name of ‘protesting the BMC officials’. Lodge FIRs on the basis of complaints filed at various levels by Medha Patkar and others and initiate action against the erring officials and the builder lobby.

Shri Prithviraj Chavan, Chief Minister, Fax: +91-22-22029214, E-mail:

Shri R.R. Patil, Home Minister, Fax: 91 22 22027174 / 22 22029742, E-mail:

For details and update call: Madhuri Shivkar 09892143242 / Madhuri Variyath 0982061917


Grievances of children studying in Government Schools relating to various violations of their Right to Education brought to light by a Postcard Campaign held by Social Jurist

Karwar Students launch post card campaign

To Hon’ble Shri A.K. Sikri Acting Chief Justice Delhi High Court, New Delhi- 110003 30.05.2012

Respected Sir,

We at Social Jurist have the honour to bring to your kind notice the grave violations of the Constitutional and the statutory rights of the children to free and compulsory quality elementary education as envisaged in Article 21(Right to life with dignity), Article 21-A (Right to Education) of the Constitution of India, Article 38 (Right to Social Justice) and in Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 which have come to light during the RTE POSTCARD CAMPAIGN held on 26.05.2012 and 27.05.2012 at Jehangirpuri Resettlement Colony and Samyapur Badli Slum Colony respectively. This campaign saw wide-scale participation from children studying in Government schools namely Sarvodya Kanya Vidyalaya, Badli, Government Boys Senior Secondary School, Badli, Government Boys Senior Secondary School, Jehangirpuri amongst others, who wrote the pros and cons regarding their schools on postcards seeking Your Lordship’s intervention for realization of their rights. We at Social Jurist are a group of lawyers and social activists dedicated to the cause of the common man and in particular, the children who are the building blocks of the society. There are various recurring problems which emerge as a result of this Campaign. All the 74 postcards are attached hereto for your kind perusal and consideration.

This letter is in continuation to our earlier letters dated 27.05.2010, 12.07.2010 and 24.12.2011{which form the subject matter of a pending PIL (W.P.(c) No. 4535/2010) entitled Court On Its Own Motion v. Govt. of NCT of Delhi and M.C.D.}, which is a constant endeavour on our part to ensure that the rights of the children are upheld. The enactment of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 has ensured an instrument to gain access to free and quality elementary education. However, it is necessary to remove the lacunas in the system to ensure that this access is not hindered by institutional loopholes.

We acknowledge the initiative on the part of the Hon’ble Delhi High Court for more than a decade which has been fruitful in ensuring greater access to education all over the country in general and Delhi in particular. It is submitted that various landmark orders regarding the Right to Education passed by the Hon’ble Delhi High Court in the past have been instrumental in initiating a positive change in the process of realization of the Right to Education of the children. (1) Sushmita, a student of MCD Primary School, Sector-18, Rohini, New Delhi says that studies take place and the teacher teaches properly. (2) Rajkumari from R.C.S. K.V., D-block, Jehangirpuri, Delhi appreciates her teacher by saying that she teaches well and maintains discipline. (3) Israel acknowledges the provision of cold water in her school while (4) Firoza from the same school is happy with her teachers and claims to have no complaints from them.

However, there are lakhs of children who continue to suffer innumerable hardships owing to absence of quality education, deplorable infrastructure in schools and lack of basic facilities like drinking water, desks, clean toilets, and teachers. The effective implementation of the RTE Act is in jeopardy due to the negligence on the part of the Government of NCT of Delhi and the Municipal Corporation of Delhi, the repercussions of which are being faced by lakhs of children studying in the city schools. It is indeed a matter of national shame that even after 65 years of Independence, the Public Education System has not been able to deliver quality education to children belonging to the weaker sections of the society. The fact that lakhs of children in the National Capital are still engaged in child labour and are not attending schools is enough to reveal the failure of the Public Education System. The existence of the above facts, even after two years of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009, has come to light after the recently held Postcard Campaign which was conducted under the auspices of Social Jurist on 26.05.2012 and 27.05.2012, wherein the children wrote close to 75 postcards penning down their difficulties and highlighting problems faced by them at school. All the children were extremely enthusiastic about being provided a platform to air their opinion about their schools and actively participated in this Campaign.

It is submitted that the students surveyed bear testimony to the glaring loopholes in the education system in the form of sub-standard level of education imparted and lack of basic infrastructure. (5) Madhubala, a class XIth student of Sarvodya Kanya Vidyalaya, Badli complains that students have to clean the class roll number wise on a daily basis. (6) Premchand, a student of Class XIIth of Government Boys Senior Secondary School, Badli says that teachers are always sleeping. They tend to ward off students when the latter go to call them to teach. Later, he says, the teachers ask questions to which the students have no answer and then they have to bear insults from the teacher for the same.(7) Sagar, a student of Government Boys Senior Secondary School, Badli says that the teacher makes the students lift the garbage and clean the classroom. He also complains of faulty tube lights and inadequate water facilities, He says that the number of fans is hardly adequate and even the ones present are not effective.(8) Rahul, a student of Government Boys Senior Secondary School, Badli says that the teacher misbehaves with the students and hardly comes to class. Students who go to call the teacher are dismissed off and are asked by the teacher to work from home.(9) Yasmin, a student of R.C.S.K. School, D-Block, Jehangirpuri, even though appreciates the studies at school, complains that classes are not cleaned properly and students have to clean their own classrooms. She says students end up spending more than half of their time in cleaning the classrooms and end up getting dirty while doing so, which in turn affects their studies.

(10) Rubina, a student of Government Girls Senior Secondary School, Badli complains that the number of fans is inadequate and the ones present are not functional. She also points towards inadequate water supply in the washrooms. (10) Sabina, a student of Government School, K-Block, Jehangirpuri says fans don’t work and it has been 2-3 months since they have. She says that there is a water tank in the school premises but no water supply and the students are not allowed to fill their bottles even when there is supply. (11) Sheik Saddam, a student of Government Boys Senior Secondary School, K-block, Jehangirpuri, says studies don’t take place in school and that there is no hygiene. He complains that the teacher merely takes attendance and lets the students leave. (12) Ismail, a student of Government Boys Senior Secondary School, Jehangirpuri says that the students are not provided cold water, even in this heat. Fans don’t function properly and classes are not conducted.

(13) Madhuri, a student of R.C.S.K. School, D-Block, Jehangirpuri, says that there is no canteen to provide for food and water and students have to go hungry if they don’t get lunch from home. She says that it’s impossible to concentrate when hungry, in the classes post lunch, and she feels nauseous. (14) Afsana, a student of R.C.S.K. School, D-Block, Jehangirpuri complains that water facilities and hygiene in washrooms are two major problems in her school. Also, she says that she gets to hear abuses in her school. (15) Siraz Anwar, a student of Government Boys Senior Secondary School, Azadpur Colony complains that cleaners in their school abuse and students leave the school premises during the school hours due to lack of security. He complains of no water from the water tap. He says that the teacher, when told, asked the students to get water from home.

The major issues highlighted by the Postcard Campaign are summarized as under:

Teacher Absenteeism

Students complain that teachers don’t come to class and even if they do, they don’t teach properly. Students say that they don’t answer questions satisfactorily and in some cases merely take attendance and leave. Concerns about quality of education and certain teachers abusing have also come to the forefront. Infrastructure

· Cases of books which are in a bad condition being distributed have been reported. Also, quite a number of students talked about Computer facilities in their school being inadequate and said that there are not enough teachers to teach.

· A major issue has been that of unhygienic toilets. It is said that cleaners don’t clean the washrooms and in some cases, there is no water supply in the washrooms.

· Complaints of inadequate number of tube lights are many with students saying that the present ones are also mainly non-functional. Majority of students have complained of fans not working in their school in this sweltering heat and a certain student said that it’s been 2-3 months since fans have worked.

· There is less number of desks as compared to the students. Lack of adequate seating in classrooms leads students to sit on the floor.

· There is no playground in many schools and the teacher doesn’t conduct games. This hampers the physical development of the students.

Water problem

Students complain that there are no water facilities in schools. In schools where there is a water tank present, there is no water supply. Certain students complain that they aren’t permitted to go fill the bottles even when there is water supply. Complaints of unclean places where the water tank is installed are also rampant. Students say that when the teacher was asked, he asked the students to get water from home.


Students are made to clean classrooms and lift garbage. Students spend a major chunk of their time cleaning heir own classrooms, sometimes even at the direction of the teachers. A certain student complains that the cleaners asked the students to clean the classrooms.

Security There have been many complaints that students get out of the school premises during school hours due to lack of security. Students leave the classes midway, which is a serious issue regarding the children’s security. Workload Students are aggrieved because of too much of written work and are made to prepare files which leave them with no time to learn.

The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 is an important benchmark in the Legal and Educational History of the country as it ensures every child the right to quality elementary education. It envisages dissolving all the inequalities present amongst children so as to ensure that every child is equal before the eyes of Law. The prerogative of the authorities does not end with introducing a means for children to access education but should also extend to ensuring that they can make use of the same in the most effective and efficient manner possible.

The authorities, mainly Government of NCT of Delhi and the Municipal Corporation of Delhi should strive to ensure that all the lacunas present in the system are removed so that the continuous struggle of the children for access to education, especially from the weaker and underprivileged strata of the society, comes to an end and the higher purpose of Law as an instrument of social change can be achieved.

We, therefore, most humbly request you to kindly take cognizance of the matter at hand and initiate appropriate proceedings against the concerned authorities to redress the grievances of these school students who have been the victims of institutional malfunctioning and have been deprived of their most valuable Constitutional and statutory Right to Education.

With regards,

Ashok Agarwal, Advocate, Adviser, Social Jurist, M-9811101923, 30.05.2012

THAILAND: Verdict in landmark freedom of expression case

Chiranuch Premchaiporn, at the Bangkok Criminal Court

Dear friends,

chiranuch.pngOn 30 May 2012, the Criminal Court read its verdict in the case in Black Case No. 1667/2553, in which Chiranuch Premchaiporn was charged with ten alleged violations of the 2007 Computer Crimes Act (CCA). Chiranuch is the 44-year-old webmaster of Prachatai, an independent online news site, which has served as an important platform for critical news, discussion, and debate for over seven years in Thailand. The charges against her in this case stemmed from her alleged failure to remove comments deemed offensive to the monarchy from the Prachatai webboard quickly enough. The Court found Chiranuch guilty for one out of the ten charges, and she was sentenced to one year in prison and a 30,000 baht fine. Resulting from her cooperation with the Court and the fact that this was her first offence, this was immediately reduced to a suspended sentence of eight months and a 20,000 baht fine.

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) welcomes the news that Chiranuch will remain outside prison and be able to continue her and Prachatai’s ground-breaking work expanding and sustaining the space for freedom of expression in Thailand. Yet we are gravely dismayed at the broader threat to freedom of expression and human rights represented by the return of a guilty verdict in this case.

Throughout this case, what has been of concern is the use of the CCA’s vague provisions to constrict freedom of expression by not only making an individual who writes or posts a comment, image, or video online potentially criminally liable, but also making the providers of internet services, such as webboard moderators, equally liable. Under section 14 of the CCA, anyone can be jailed for five years if found to have imported to a computer "false computer data in a manner that it is likely to damage the country's security or cause a public panic… any computer data related with an offence against the Kingdom's security under the Criminal Code". Under its section 15, the service provider found to “intentionally supporting or consenting to” the use of the computer for this purpose is equally liable as the person committing the offence, which in the case of Chiranuch is the crime of lese majesty, as stipulated in section 112 of the Criminal Code, that, "Whoever defames, insults or threatens the King, Queen, the Heir-apparent or the Regent, shall be punished (with) imprisonment of three to fifteen years." In the case of Chiranuch Premchaiporn, the prosecution alleged that she should have removed comments deemed to be damaging to the monarchy more quickly, and in not doing so, had violated the CCA.

One of the crucial issues for both the prosecution and the defense was the determination of what constitutes “intentionally supporting or consenting to” and, more specifically, an appropriate length of time within which questionable webboard comments must be removed. In the decision, the abbreviated version of which has been posted on the Prachatai website, the judges responded with an assessment of the appropriate length of time. The decision notes that in nine of the ten comments in question, they were removed within one to eleven days, and that this indicates that Chiranuch did not intentionally support or consent to them. In the instance of the tenth comment, which remained online for twenty days before she removed it, however, the Court concluded that this indicated “implied consent”. On the basis of this assessment, Chiranuch was found guilty of one charge of violating the Computer Crimes Act.

As Google noted in a statement released after the verdict was announced on 30 May 2012, the CCA poses threats to a free and open internet in Thailand because it lacks “transparent rules about how to identify and react to unlawful content.”Although Thailand’s legal system is not precedent-based, this decision partially begins the process of clarifying the constituent vagueness of the Computer Crimes Act. Within this decision, a period of up to eleven days to remove a comment deemed damaging is acceptable and legal; a period of twenty days is unacceptable and criminal. Yet the decision introduces another dangerous lack of clarity with the category of “implied consent.” The text of the CCA mentions intentional support and consent, and the category of “implied consent” indicates that whether or not the consent is explicit or implicit is immaterial in the eyes of the law.

Further, in the abbreviated decision the Court addressed the issue of freedom of expression and its relevance in this case. As a reminder, Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Thailand is a state party, mandates that:

"1. Everyone shall have the right to hold opinions without interference.

2. Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice.

3. The exercise of the rights provided for in paragraph 2 of this article carries with it special duties and responsibilities. It may therefore be subject to certain restrictions, but these shall only be such as are provided by law and are necessary:

(a) For respect of the rights or reputations of others; (b) For the protection of national security or of public order (ordre public), or of public health or morals."

While not acknowledging Article 19, the Court addresses section 3 (b). It is worth quoting at length from the abbreviated decision here:

"The court acknowledges that freedom of expression is a basic right of citizens that is guaranteed and protected in the Thai Constitution. This is because freedom of thought and expression reflects good governance and the democratization of a given entity or nation. Criticism from the people, both positive and negative, provide an opportunity to improve the nation, given entity, and individuals for the better. But when the defendant opened a channel for the expression of opinions within a computer system, she was the service provider and it was within her control. The defendant had a duty to review the opinions and information that may have impacted the country’s security as well as the liberty of others who must be respected as well…. the defendant cannot cite freedom of expression in order to be released from responsibility."

On the one hand, there is nothing vague about this statement. Webboard moderators, editors, service providers, and anyone else covered by Article 15 of the CCA must anticipate potential threats to national security by anyone who writes, posts, or uses their services. Yet what remains unclear is the precise method by which the comments on the Prachatai webboard were a threat to national security or the liberty of others. Within this unexplained gap, restrictions on the freedom of expression and related human rights violations flourish. The onus remains on the Court to precisely outline the meaning of national security and the specific threats posed to it.

In view of the above facts, the Asian Human Rights Commission calls on the Thai government to explain this decision, and the logic supplied for it, with its obligations under Article 19 of the ICCPR. Simultaneously, within the context of these continued threats to freedom, the AHRC congratulates Chiranuch Premchaiporn and Prachatai on their continued opportunities to work for the full realization of human rights in Thailand. As additional recent charges and convictions under Article 112 and the Computer Crimes Act indicate, this work is needed now more than ever.

For further information: Abbreviated Court decision (Thai language): เปิดคำพิพากษาฉบับย่อ ผอ.ประชาไท: มาตรฐาน ตัวกลาง-เสรีภาพ-ความมั่นคง The AHRC webpage on Chiranuch Premchaiporn at:

Thank you.

Urgent Appeals Programme, Asian Human Rights Commission (


Brief report on 4th national conference: National forum of forest people and forest workers(n.f.f.p.f.w.)

Special Report
By Roma
May 29, 2012

National Forum of Forest People and Forest Workers in India

Many delegates from around 20 states participated in this conference, 17 delegates from pakistan, nepal and bangladesh also participated in this conference, on 26th may day long public hearing was conducted on the issues of ' national parks and sancturies' deposition of sunderban,buxa, (wb), kumbalgarh(raj), rajaji(uk), achanakmar (cg), dudhwa np, sohagibarwa, ranipur, kaimur (up), van sancturary(bihar), np from arunanchal pradesh were made jury members were : jarjum ete( ex chairperson, women commission ap), mannulal markam ( retd adj, jabalpur session court), p.c tiwari( senior adv, nainital hc), hem gairola(specialist forest rt act, uk), d. Thakappan(president, ntui), kn tiwari ( president disha social org), ramchander rana(member state level monitoring comm, up), roma ( sp invitee, state monitoring comm, up) in the evening fraternal delegates from pakistan, nepal and bangladesh were welcomed and homage paid to our departed leaders in the ground by 400 delegates present in the conference.

"sarfroshi ke tamanna" song was sung while paying homage to our departed leaders - noor alam, prem khawas, bharatiji, dr. Viniyan, ramdyal munda, gaura devi, myamma. In paying the tribute the women delegates held flag and fastened on ground in front of stage the inaugural session was started in evening with vibrant presentation of songs by dr. Shubendu ghosh who sung the four dimension of social and political movement- the revolutionary spirit of bhagat singh, the freedom spirit(poetry of maqdoom moinudin), the women struggle (poetry of gorakh pandey) and the unity of working classes (poetry of faiz ahmed faiz) the inaugural session started with setting the political agenda of struggle against neo liberal regime.

Various distinguished people were present in this confrence. Ch. Guest of the conference was sh. Abhay sahoo, posco pratirodh sangram samiti, sps baghel(mp, rajyasabha), sh sanjay garg(ex state minister pwd, up govt), farooq tariq, azra shad (pakistan), bhola bhattarai, babita chowdhruy(nepal), manju pramanik(bangladesh), tapan bose(pak-ind peple forum), ashim roy(ntui), madhuresh(napm), vijayan(psa), harsh dobhal, tarun joshi, kamla pant, anil chowdhruy, arun khote, gautam bandopadyaa, guman singh, rashmi(cg), vijay jena(odisha), prafulla samantra, gilbert, debashish(nff) the other discussion will be on the ss Strategic alliance building with other natural resource based working people’s organizations focusing on vulnerable areas with workers’ movements Self strengthening process of community leadership in the forest rights movement to create an alternative forest governance system under the community leadership Women and forest governance, strengthening of women leadership at all levels in the movement and in the organization from local to national level.

• Amendment to the constitution resolution Election of national committee members and post holders the detailed report will be followed report by roma.

Dehradun, uttarakhand
Geetanjali gardens, near isbt, haridwar bypass,dehradun


As Tarun Gogoi's Government Completes One Year in Office, Akhil Gogoi Goes on Fast in Assam, Why?

Special Report
By Sandeep Pandey

Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi

NAPM Supports the Struggle of KMSS and Demands Scrapping of Subansiri Dam

New Delhi, May 21 : On May 13th after the elections in 2011 NAPM had issued a statement on the election results in Assam and said :
We are aware that the victory of the same government means difficult times ahead for people's movements but we will continue to challenge the ineptness and corruption in the governance and fight for communities control of natural resources and their means of livelihood. We do hope the new dispensation will use this opportunity to put its house in order and effectively work on the issues raised by the movements for true development of people of Assam.

The current government completed a year on May 18th amidst much fan fare but unfortunate it is our words seems to be coming true. Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti, an affiliate of NAPM, has been at the receiving end of the police atrocities from time to time. KMSS, a mass organisation with support base in urban and rural areas both led by Akhil Gogoi has been at the forefront of the struggle for people's democratic rights and a people-centred development model. They have exposed corruption at every level of governance and emphasised for the better utilisation of the public resources, for which they have constantly faced government's ire. Attack on the KMSS cadres is nothing new it seems on March 29th 2010, when they had gone to submit a memorandum on the issues of mega dams, PDS anomalies and NREGA implementation at Dhemaji District Commissioner's office they were tear-gassed, lathi charged and arrested; in June 2011, Akhil Gogoi was arrested by the government; in December 2011 they were attacked many times when KMSS and others led seize to the highway and stopped trucks to the Lower Subansiri Dams; earlier they have been labelled as Maoists and Chinese supported and so on.

Inspite of all the opposition from the state machinery and oppression from security forces KMSS has carried the struggle against corporate driven, anti people development and corrupt practices of the Assam government. It is extremely unfortunate that our letters of appeal and condemnation in past to the Assam Government against the attack on non-violent people's movements seems to have no impact.

On May 11, the government unleashed attack on KMSS activists who were demonstrating peacefully at Ghagar in Lakhimpur district by blockading transportation of goods to Lower Subansiri Hydro-Electric Project site. The blockade was forcefully removed and all efforts are being made to carry goods to project site by the state government. As of now there is complete regime of 'terror' in the district of Lakhimpur. 30 KMSS activists had been arrested and sent to jail for either supporting the movement and being part of the movement. They include women, children and others. Police personnel have been posted in every road, street, locality in the most unprecedented manner. The government has also deployed around 300 special police officers to prevent activists from staging any protest.

We fail to understand that when the blockade has been going on since mid December and many rounds of dialogue has happened between the people's movements and the government then why is government shying away from implementing the recommendations of the Expert Committee which advised against construction of Mega Dams ? Why the Group of Ministers report, which was constituted to discuss these matters, has not been made public ? Why is Assam Government in collusion with the Central Government hell bent on building these dams at such great human cost ?

Today we are witness to one of the biggest peaceful, non-violent anti dam sustained agitation in Assam led by peasants, tribals and othres but even then the government is not listening. The danger to the border state of Arunachal Pradesh and Assam is not from outside forces but from proposed construction of 168 dams for 68000 MW on various rivers of Arunachal Pradesh. The NHPC constructed Lower Subansiri Hydel Project for 2000 MW situated in a highly earthquake prone location is one of this upcoming project. Citizens of this nation have a right to know that why our lives are being mortgaged in the name of development and for profiteering of some private and public corporations who are there only for profit. We vehemently oppose this and support the peaceful struggle of the people and those of the KMSS and other organisations in Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.

Akhil Gogoi is on his third day of the indefinite hunger strike against the atrocities of the government against the peacefully protesting people, many of whom are injured and are languishing in hospital. NAPM supports KMSS's and Akhil's brave struggle for life with dignity and against unjust destructive capitalist development thrust upon people against their will. We support the demand made by the people's movements and urge the government of India and Assam to immediately intervene and listen to people's voices. We support the demand of KMSS that :

The government release all the detained activists unconditionally. All police atrocities be stopped immediately. The protesters should be allowed to set up our makeshift camps which will monitor any goods going to LSHP The construction of the lower Subansiri project be stopped till there is a reasonable agreement agreed by the downstream people.

Sandeep Pandey, Prafulla Samantara, Gabriele Dietrich, Sister Celia, P Chennaiah, Ramakrishnan Raju, Sarasvathy Kavula, Anand Mazgaonkar, Vimal Bhai, Gautam Bandopadhyay, Mukta Srivastava, Rajendra Ravi, Madhuresh Kumar


While You Celebrate 60 Years of Indian Parliament, Children Starve in Kudankulam. Why?

Special Report
By Medha Patkar

Indian Parliament

New Delhi, May 14 : Yesterday politicians across party lines came together to celebrate the functioning of 60 years of Indian Parliament and appealed for co-operation, peace and respect for diverse, dissenting and plural voices for the healthy functioning of the democracy and progress of the country. NAPM together with many like-minded organizations and individuals would like to ask the Indian Parliament why are they suppressing, criminalising and dishonouring one of the most determined, non-violent and secular struggles for Life and Livelihood in post-independence India - the valiant fight of fisher people, peasants, workers, traders and other walks of life against the VVER 1000 MW nuclear reactors in Kudankulam in Tamil Nadu. It is utterly painful to see not only the massive sufferings of a people under siege and blockade, but also the strangulation of democracy and of faith in the human capacity to reason.

The viability of nuclear energy is today deeply in question in the light of Three Miles Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima and many other incidents of radiation through nuclear tests and so-called minor accidents, which nobody even wants to mention. Japan has at present closed down all its reactors and Germany and many other countries are determined to abandon this dangerous technology. They are fully investing in renewable options. In contrast to this, the Indian P.M. holds that the “thinking part” of the population is for the nuclear option, where as the “non-thinking” part, i.e. the ignorant and superstitious masses, are against it. Is that really so ?

Quite irrespective of the pros and cons of the nuclear option, it is obvious that the Indian policies are extremely dangerous, because the nuclear establishment functions without an independent safety mechanism. There is no independent commission or institution to appeal to. The nuclear establishment with its massive vested interest is the final authority on all things nuclear. No independent commission can assess the safety situation objectively, listening to critics and to the anguish of local people. But independent experts and people need to be heard, transparency needs to be achieved.

We therefore fully endorse the eleven demands of the PMANE Struggle Committee, released during the indefinite fast started on May 1, 2012. We especially salute the women of Idinthkarai and other coastal villages, who have been the backbone of this valiant struggle for Life throughout. We also salute their children, who similar to children in the anti- POSCO struggle in Odisha, have attended the school of life on the burning sand. We salute the men of the fishing community, especially since in a culture of physically taming the elements, non-violent struggle was not sung at their cradle. We salute the struggle committee, their supporters and families, who have held out under extremely demanding conditions.

We appeal to the Central Government, the State government, all other political parties and the coercive forces employed by them to remember their responsibility to honour non-violent struggle and not to destroy democratic spaces. We appeal to all people with faith in democracy and human rights to honour this uprising for Life and to support it and to let it turn the tide towards a different kind of society, not ruled by greed, caste and creed, accumulation and violence. This is a beacon to lead us towards decentralized sustainable energy options, a balanced life style which respects nature and human dignity and right to work and truly participatory democracy. Destroying this struggle is a political Harakiri of the State, which will breed cynicism, despair and violence.

In the spirit of the Freedom Struggle, of the Indian Constitution and the myriad of uprisings against destructive development, we appeal to the whole nation and to the world to support us in the endeavour to protect the Earth from the danger of a nuclear holocaust through weapons, accidents, unresolved waste disposal, sabotage or natural disaster. The Fate of the Earth is at stake. We do not want the End of History. We want future generations to be able to remember the struggles which have transformed this world into a livable society, with equity, solidarity, compassion, to be cherished in Peace and in the Spirit of Sharing.

Medha Patkar, Gabriele Dietrich, Geetha Ramakrishnan, Prafulla Samantara, Maj. Gen (Retd.) Sudhir Vombatkere, Sandeep Pandey, Sister Celia, P Chennaiah, Arundhati Dhuru, Ramakrishnan Raju, Sarasvathy Kavula, Anand Mazgaonkar, Vimal Bhai, Gautam Bandopadhyay, Mukta Srivastava, Rajendra Ravi, Madhuresh Kumar


61-year-old man convicted of lèse majesté dies in prison

Mr. Amphon Tangnoppakhun(C)

Paris-Bangkok, May 9, 2012. The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and its Thai member organization, Union for Civil Liberty (UCL), are deeply saddened by the death of Mr. Amphon Tangnoppakhun, who was convicted on 23 November 2011 and harshly sentenced to 20 years in prison. He was accused of sending four text messages deemed offensive to the Queen of Thailand to a personal assistant of the Prime Minister in 2010, in violation of Article 112 of the Criminal Code and the Computer-related Crimes Act of 2007. He had insisted on his innocence throughout his trial.

Mr.Tangnoppakhun, also known as Ah Kong (grandfather) and Uncle SMS, was arrested on 3 August 2010 and was shortly released on bail on 4 October 2010. After he was charged by court on 18 January 2011 he was rearrested and the judge rejected his application for bail. Subsequent applications for bail were all rejected. The latest request made in February 2012 was rejected by the Appeals Court which reportedly ruled that “The illness which the defendant claims, as one of the reasons for bail, does not appear to be life-threatening.” In early April, he decided to withdraw his appeal and seek a royal pardon. Mr. Tangnoppakhun had previously suffered from mouth cancer and was reportedly experiencing stomach pains for months before his death. He was admitted to a prison hospital on 4 May but was found dead on the morning of 8 May.

The conditions of Thai detention centres fall far short of the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, and the medical services provided are often primitive. The premature death of a prisoner in fragile health must be independently and credibly investigated, and the findings of the autopsy that has reportedly been performed should be published promptly. Prison was a very inappropriate environment for the detention of an aged prisoner in poor health, said FIDH and UCL.

The case of Mr. Tangnoppakhun is one of hundreds of lèse majesté cases that have been sent for prosecution at the Court of First Instance in the past years. The number of lèse majesté cases that have reached the Court of First Instance has increased alarmingly since the military coup in 2006; whereas 30 charges were sent for prosecution in 2006, that number skyrocketed to 478 in 2010, according to government statistics.

FIDH and UCL consider Article 112, commonly known as the lèse majesté law, as well as related provisions of the Computer-related Crimes Act, as inconsistent with Thailand’s Constitution and obligations under international human rights treaties which it has ratified, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which requires States to protect freedom of expression. The formulation, scope and application of the law have resulted in restrictions on freedom of expression and opinion in conflict with constitutional rights of the Thai people. The Truth for Reconciliation Commission of Thailand stated in its latest report that keeping the lèse majesté law in its current form was an obstruction to reconciliation and repeated its recommendation to the government to amend it.

The law is broadly worded and lacks adequate administrative or judicial safeguards against arbitrary interpretation and abuse. It allows for any individual to bring lèse majesté charges. Each count of violation of the law carries between three years to fifteen years of imprisonment. According to sources that closely monitor the application of the law, there is a dramatic 94% conviction rate.

"Ignoring the need to stem the abuse of the lèse majesté law will only aggravate a sense of injustice already pervasive across the country,” said Danthong Breen, Chairman of UCL. “As a member of the Human Rights Council, it is unacceptable thatThailand allows its law to criminalize free speech with little regard to the rule of law and democracy."

"The death of Mr. Tangnoppakhun is a reminder to the Thai authorities of the tragic and inhumane impact of the application of the lèse majesté law, including the systematic denial of bail," said Souhayr Belhassen, FIDH President. "The Thai government should heed the growing calls of the Thai people as well as the international community to amend the law to bring it into line with international human rights law or repeal it."

Press contact: International Federation for Hum

an Rights (FIDH): Karine Appy + 33 6 48 05 91 57 Union for Civil Liberty (UCL): Danthong Breen: +66 2 275 4231

THAILAND: Concerns over delayed verdict in criminal case against free media advocate

May 8, 2012

Chiranuch Premchaiporn

On 30 April 2012, the Criminal Court in Bangkok was scheduled to read its verdict in Black Case No. 1667/2553 on ten alleged violations of the 2007 Computer Crimes Act. The defendant is Chiranuch Premchaiporn, the 44-year-old webmaster of Prachatai, an independent online news site. Suddenly, instead of reading the decision, 20 minutes before the proceedings were to begin court staff notified Chiranuch and her lawyers that the decision would be delayed for an additional month. The rather dubious reason given by the court for the delay was that the judges had too many documents to read, and could not complete preparing the verdict in time for the scheduled date.

Both the delay to this case and the explanation for the delay are sources of serious concern to the Asian Human Rights Commission. The judges gave the date for reading the verdict in mid-February 2012, on the last day of hearings. At that time, they knew the case and the amount of evidence that they had to review. If they required a longer time to reach their findings, they ought to have set the date later. That they did not casts doubt on their excuse for not delivering the verdict on the appointed date, as does the manner in which the notification was delivered to the defendant. Had the judges really known that they could not prepare the verdict in time, the court need not have waited until minutes before the scheduled reading date to postpone the ruling; it could have notified the defendant's lawyers the week before that the hearing would have to be postponed. That they notified the defendant at the last minute constitutes a form of psychological torture, since Chiranuch was already on her way to court and had readied a bag of items to take with her to prison in the event of a conviction. Now she faces another month of waiting, of not knowing her future.

From the beginning, the case brought against Chiranuch has made a mockery of the notion of justice, and so too the institutions in Thailand responsible for it. In this sense the delay constitutes only the latest in a series of state-endorsed abuses of the defendant's rights. In particular, this case represents an instance of the clear abrogation of the state's responsibilities under article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Thailand is a party.

The formal proceedings against Chiranuch began on 3 March 2009, when the Criminal Court issued a warrant for the defendant's arrest. On March 5, a warrant to search the Prachatai office was issued and the next day police from the Crime Suppression Division raided the office and arrested Chiranuch in response to one complaint of her alleged violation of the vaguely worded, anti-democratic Computer Crimes Act, which an unelected legislature operating under a military-appointed government passed in 2007. The police released Chiranuch later that evening, but the next month nine further complaints were brought against her. On 31 March 2010, the Office of the Attorney General proceeded with the prosecution and she was arrested and held at the Criminal Court before again being released on bail.

Reading the above account, we might infer that Chiranuch had published some highly inflammatory, dangerous or secret material on the Prachatai site that warranted the heavy involvement of specialist police and state prosecutors. In fact, her crime was to have not done something: to have failed to remove 10 comments alleged to be injurious to the monarchy from the Prachatai webboard quickly enough. Her alleged crime, to underscore the point, was that she removed the comments, which consisted of allusions rather than direct references to the royal family, with insufficient rapidity.

Examination of the specific provisions of the 2007 Computer Crimes Act under which these bizarre allegations were brought does not help us to clarify the thinking of those responsible for the prosecution of Chiranuch Premchaiporn. However, it does raise a series of questions about the dubious qualities of this law and the dangers it poses to the rights of citizens. Under its section 14, anyone can be jailed for five years if found to have imported to a computer "false computer data in a manner that it is likely to damage the country's security or cause a public panic... any computer data related with an offence against the Kingdom's security under the Criminal Code". Under its section 15, the service provider found to have consented to the use of the computer for this purpose is equally liable as the person committing the offence, which in the case of Chiranuch is the crime of lese majesty, as stipulated in section 112 of the Criminal Code, that, "Whoever defames, insults or threatens the King, Queen, the Heir-apparent or the Regent, shall be punished (with) imprisonment of three to fifteen years."

The trial hearings occurred in February and September 2011, and February 2012, and summaries by Freedom Against Censorship-Thailand are available on the campaign webpage that the AHRC has set up for Chiranuch. As these show, much of the testimony turned on the interpretation of how the comments that she removed tardily, in the opinion of the police and prosecutor, constitute criminal content in the meaning of the law. Whether or not a written comment on a webpage or link to an image or video is "likely to damage the country's security or cause a public panic" is necessarily fraught with difficulty, even more so as the Computer Crimes Act does not specify what might constitute a likelihood to damage the country's security or create a public panic, or even define "security" or "public panic". What any of these terms mean, it seems, comes down to the opinion of the judge in the individual case. No standards exist to which we can refer.

The hearings also turned on the question of whether in providing the webboard for public comment the defendant had consented to the posting of all and any comments on that site, making her criminally liable for them. As she removed the offending comments once aware of them, it seems patently obvious that she did not consent to anyone posting anything on the site, and yet the prosecution argument rests on the implicit reasoning that whosoever provides an online chatroom or space for discussion about any topic consents to the posting of any content on any matter. This absurd proposition could only be entertained in the context of draconian legislation of the sort being used against Chiranuch, with the intention of preventing the free expression of opinion about issues that really matter to people in Thailand during a critical period in the country's modern history. Indeed, the charges did have the effect of forcing Prachatai to shut down its webboard, for fear that both users and more of its staff members could face additional prosecution.

In responding to criticism about the case, the government of Thailand has characteristically shown either an inability to grasp elementary values of human rights, or a wilful disregard for those values. It has also underplayed, either intentionally or unknowingly, the potential consequences of this case. For instance, in a statement submitted to the United Nations Human Rights Council on 19 May 2011, the Asian Legal Resource Centre, the sister organization of the AHRC, set out the facts of Chiranuch Premchaiporn's case and commented that it illustrated "the over-use and manipulation of the law to intimidate citizens and silence speech critical of the monarchy and ruling government regime". The ALRC highlighted the response of the government of Thailand to the concern expressed in September 2010 by the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, Mrs. Margaret Sekkaggya, regarding the case against Chiranuch. The government maintained that both the 2007 Computer Crimes Act and section 112 of the Criminal Code are not in conflict with either the 2007 Constitution or the ICCPR. Instead it replied that

"Thailand, as an open society, upholds the people's right to freedom of speech and expression as guaranteed by the Constitution. The exercise of such rights, however, must bear in mind considerations regarding national stability and social harmony. Views that are disrespectful of the monarchy, or advocate hatred or hostile feelings toward this important national institution, or those which incite hatred or violence are generally unacceptable in the Thai society."

Article 19 of the ICCPR allows for restrictions on freedom of expression when necessity is clearly present: that officials deem a view "unacceptable" does not discharge the burden of necessity in this case, and nor does it justify the prosecution of persons for the expressing of such views. Indeed, some of the most atrocious acts in modern human history have been justified through recourse to notions of "national stability and social harmony". To account for the prosecution of Chiranuch Premchaiporn in these terms indicates how very far removed the state in Thailand really is from the international human rights framework that it claims to respect.

In view of the above facts, the Asian Human Rights Commission calls on the Criminal Court to ensure that no further delays are caused in the reading of this verdict, and that the trial be conducted openly, honestly and justly. A special effort must be made by the court in this case to ensure that indeed justice is done. The AHRC also wishes to point out to the court that delaying tactics will not cause human rights defenders around the world to lose interest in the case, but only heighten the amount of attention that it receives, since the use of such tactics raises the level of doubt about the manner in which the trial has been conducted and the prospects of the accused for a fair outcome. Last of all, and in this regard, the AHRC urges all those persons and organisations concerned with human rights and freedom of expression in Thailand to return to the Criminal Court on 30 May 2012 for the re-scheduled reading of the decision.


Threats and restrictions on UBCV Vesak celebrations - Buddhists in Hue prepare non-violent resistance

Thich Thien Hanh

PARIS, May 3, 2012 (IBIB) - Senior monks from the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam (UBCV) have reported increasing threats and pressure by Security Police and local authorities in the central provinces of Thua Thien-Hue, Quang Nam-Danang, Phu Yen and Binh Thuan to ban the UBCV from organizing celebrations of the Vesak (Birth of Buddha) which takes place on 5 May 2012.

On April 29th and 30th respectively, Venerable Thich Thanh Quang, Secretary-general of the UBCV’s Executive Institute (Vien Hoa Dao) and Venerable Thich Thien Hanh, Head of the UBCV’s Vesak Day Organizing Committee and Head of the UBCV Provincial Committee in Thua Thien-Hue sent urgent reports to UBCV Patriarch Thich Quang Do describing rising tension between the authorities and the UBCV and citing widespread incidents of harassments, threats and restrictions by Security Police and local authorities on UBCV activities ver the past few days:

In Thua Thien-Hue:

Whereas the State-sponsored Vietnam Buddhist Church (VBC) is organizing massive 2012 Vesak Day celebrations in collaboration with the local People’s Committee in the city of Hue and the adjacent villages of Huong Tra and Huong Thuy in the framework of “National Tourist Year” to demonstrate that “Vietnam respects religious freedom”, the UBCV has been banned from holding public celebrations under the UBCV’s name. This year, in order to celebrate Vesak and also to mark the 37th year of repression against the UBCV since the Communist Party took power in 1975, the UBCV in Hue is planning a large ceremony at the Quoc An Pagoda. For this event, the UBCV has designed a logo which will be displayed on the altars of all UBCV Pagodas during the Vesak. The logo, which shows a globe surrounded by the words “Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam” is aimed to symbolize the international outreach of the UBCV, which has members in 80 countries all over the world. All Pagodas belonging to the UBCV in Thua Thien-Hue, including Long Quang, Kim Quang, Phuoc Thanh, Phuoc Hai, Bao Quang and Tho Duc will display the same logo on altars set up for their own congregations.

Since the authorities found out about this logo, Police have systematically contacted all the artists commissioned by the UBCV to reproduce it and forced them to sign statements promising to stop work at once or face heavy fines. Despite Police threats, seven logos have been made. However, as Buddhists set up altars for the Vesak on 26.4.2012, large groups of Security Police aggressively broke into the pagodas, harassing followers and ordering monks to immediately dismantle the logos and anything else bearing the words “Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam”, on the grounds that the UBCV is “an illegal organization”.

Also on 26.4.2012, the Vinh Ninh People’s Committee summoned UBCV monk Thich Dieu Tanh, Superior monk of the Quoc An Pagoda for interrogations. He refused to go, but sent Thich Minh Chon in his place. Officials and Security Police strictly forbade the monk from allowing any “unlawful” UBCV signs or banners at the Vesak Day celebrations this week-end. On the same day, five officials from the State Religious Police, the People’s Committee and other government organs visited Tho Duc Pagoda in Thuy Xuan district. They drew up an indictment accusing its Abbot Thich Chon Phuong of setting up an altar bearing the words UBCV, and ordered him to take down the altar immediately. Thich Chon Phuong refused to sign the indictment. Thich Chon Niem, Superior monk of Bao Quang Pagoda was subjected to similar threats by Police and local officials on the same day. On 28.4.2012, local authorities drew up a statement against Thich Chi Thang, Superior monk of Phuoc Hai Pagoda, ordering him to dismantle the Vesak altar within two days (before 30 April) otherwise Police would forcibly tear it down. Thich Minh Sieu, the Pagoda’s Abbot, refused to sign the Police statement.

Faced with growing repression in the run-up to the Vesak, Thich Thien Hanh called a meeting of the UBCV Vesak Organizing Committee at the Quoc An Pagoda on 29.4.2012. The monks took the following decision to defend the sacred commemoration of Vesak, which Buddhists in Vietnam have celebrated for the past 2,000 years:

1) To resolutely refuse to sign any indictments drawn up by the local authorities and disregard all orders to dismantle altars or ban Vesak celebrations; refuse to recognize the legitimacy of local authorities to issue orders on UBCV activities. The UBCV is a nation-wide and international organization. Any ban on the UBCV must come from central government before it can be taken into consideration by the UBCV leadership;

2) If the Thua Thien-Hue local authorities persist with harassments and restrictions during the Vesak, to call on UBCV monks, nuns and followers to oppose repression by non-violent resistance, staging sit-in demonstrations and prayers;

3) If the authorities use force to suppress Vesak celebrations in individual UBCV Pagodas, to call on all monks, nuns and lay-followers to gather in the Quoc An Pagoda at 6.00am on Vesak Day (5.5.2012) to celebrate the Vesak together, bringing along all the banned logos and banners bearing the name of the UBCV. After the prayer ceremony, the logos will be burned in offering to Lord Buddha. Any Buddhists who are intercepted by Police on their way to Quoc An Pagoda should stage a sit-in demonstration on the spot, recite prayers and oppose peaceful resistance to the government’s religious discrimination policies and gross violations of the right of freedom of belief of Buddhists and all citizens of Vietnam.

In Quang Nam-Danang:

Security Police continue to surround Giac Minh Pagoda, headquarters of the UBCV provincial Committee and the UBCV Buddhist Youth Movement, filming all those who approach the pagoda and preventing Buddhists from entering (see IBIB Press release, 28 April 2012). On 28.4.2012, the local People’s Committee in Binh Hien (Danang) invited Thich Thanh Quang and the community of monks and nuns at Giac Minh Pagoda to attend a public “denunciation session” before a crowd of local people. Thich Thanh Quang refused to attend, but sent a younger monk, Thich Dong Lai in his place. Thich Dong Lai reported that local Party officials and religious police incited people to denounce Giac Minh Pagoda for its “reactionary” activities and membership of the outlawed UBCV. On 3 May 2012, Thich Thong Lai was again summed for questioning by the local Police.

In Phu Yen Province:

Venerable Thich Giac Hieu, head of the UBCV’s Phu Yen Provincial Committee reports that many monks and nuns, as well as members of the UBCV Buddhist Youth Movement, have been summoned by the local authorities for ‘working sessions” (Police interrogations) over the past few days and warned of “serious consequences” if they attempted to attend UBCV Vesak celebrations in Phu Yen this week-end.

In Binh Thuan Province:

Venerable Thich Thong Hai, Binh Thuan UBCV Youth Commissioner has been repeatedly summoned to the People’s Committee headquarters for interrogations. The local authorities have threatened to take “preventive measures” if he attempts to organize Vesak celebrations in Binh Thuan (see IBIB Press Release 28.4.2012).

Members of the 20 UBCV Provincial Committees all over the central and southern provinces report similar harassments, threats and restrictions over the past weeks. ---

Christian for Prez or VP of India: No Reason Why Christians Should be Denied Gubernatorial Posts

May 1, 2012

Rashtrapati Bhavan

Rashtrapati Bbhavan IndiaThe Catholic-Christian Secular Forum (CSF), the Mumbai-based national activist community organization has launched a nationwide campaign to have a Christian nominated as the next President or Vice President of the country. According to Joseph Dias, The CSF general secretary, " there is no reason why a Christian should not be considered for President or Vice President of India, as there are more than one suitable candidates. Indian Christians have meritoriously worked their way to the top in every field of national endeavour, including being chiefs of armed forces, but top constitutional posts as these, have since the last almost 70 years eluded the community. The mood among Christians is changing and it is no longer one of passive acceptance of them being taken for granted ".

"The yeoman service of the Christian community, without any discrimination, to the needy and the downtrodden is uncomparable. Yet, other religious groups like the Muslims and even the miniscule Sikhs, have had the opportunity to be represented, many times and in multiple constitutional positions. Indian Christians are the second largest minority, but have received a pittance, which needs to be corrected. A Christian would also represent other neglected tribals, the North East and other deprived sections of Indian society. There could be easily a Christian match for any other selected for the gubernatorial offices, though not merit, rather symbolicism is what matters. It is for this reason that KR Narayanan's Dalit background, Pratibha Patil's gender, besides the religion of Zail Singh and APJ Kalam, Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed and Zakir Hussain is touted. No one should hence have an objection to Christians being given a chance ", Joseph Dias added.

The CSF appeals to the Church and community to get involved and will also contact leaders of the ruling and opposition political parties, including the Congress led coalition at the national level, which holds 40 per cent of the votes and the Bhartiya Janata Party, which has 30 per cent of the share. The CSF would also be meeting chief ministers of various regional parties, as the state legislatures too comprise the electoral college. Among the chief ministers, whom The CSF will be appealing to, include J Jayalalita, Mamta Bannerji, Akhilesh Yadav, Naveen Patnaik, Nitish Kumar, Mayawati etc. In a memorandum being presented to these political decision-makers, The CSF has urged that if political compulsions, prevent a Christian from being the 13th President, then at least the Vice President's nomination should be considered.

L.N.J.P. Hospital New Delhi denying essential medicines for the past 4 weeks to nearly 300 diabetic patients

Special Report
By Ashok Agarwal
Apr. 27, 2012

L.N.J.P. Hospital in New Delhi

To Hon’ble Sh. A.K.Sikri, Acting Chief Justice,
Delhi High Court at New Delhi 24.04.2012

Respected sir,

It is submitted that Mr. Shiv Charan S/o Ram Swaroop R/o Behind Nai Basti Paharganj Mob No. - 9350046614 has today approached me and submitted a written request to help the patients who are not getting essential medicines for the past four weeks in LNJP Hospital New Delhi. A copy of letter is attached with this letter which is self explanatory.

Mr. Shiv Charan who is 70 years old mentioned that he is a diabetic patient and getting treatment from LNJP Hospital New Delhi. He stated that he has no money to purchase essential medicine. He stated that he has been taking treatment at the above said hospital for a long time where another 250 to 300 diabetic patients are coming daily for treatment but they are not getting essential medicine for last 4 week. It has been stated that hospital authority always showing their reluctance to distribute medicine and for the last 4 week all the diabetic patients are not been given essential medicines. As a result, the sugar level increased alarmingly in all the patients including Mr. Shiv Charan who are not getting any medicine for diabetes.

Sir it is important to mention here that the denial of essential medicine to this senior citizen and 300 other patients, is clear violation of their constitutional right to health guaranteed to them under Article 21 of the constitution of India. Denial of Medicine to these 300 diabetic patients by this State run hospital is a very serious matter. Therefore I am requesting you to kindly issue directions to the LNJP Hospital for regular distribution of essential medicines for the all the diabetic patients and to continue to do so.

With great Regards

Ashok Agarwal, Advisor, Social Jurist. 9811101923

Withdraw vindictive cases against Dr. Sunilam, punish the guilty

The Adani Thermal Power Plant

Rehabilitate Pardhi community and ensure justice and dignified livelihood to them

New Delhi, Apr. 23 : The CBI in late March filed challan against 82 people including Dr. Sunilam in the CBI Court (Jabalpur) in an old case of eviction, burning of the houses of the Pardhi community, a denotified tribe, in Chothia Village, Multai, M.P. on September 11, 2007 by locals including politicians in the presence of the police and administration. The charge-sheet surprisingly leaves the names of the police and civil administration officials who were present at the scene of violence since morning that day. Dr. Sunilam, then MLA from Multai reached the venue at 12 noon nearly after 5 hours of the incident, even then he is charged with participation in the crime. We feel it is a vindictive move on part of the corrupt nexus between bureaucracy, political forces and the administration whose political and economic interests are being hurt due to Kisan Sangharsh Samiti's (KSS) active opposition to the Adani Thermal Power Plant and Pench Water Diversion Project in Chindwara District. In May 2011, Dr. Sunilam, Advocate Aradhana Bharagava and other members of KSS were attacked by the goons of Adani, where he sustained severe injuries and many of the villagers were later arrested without any charges on the attackers. We demand that these strict action against these incidents after thorough investigation rather than harassing the members of KSS.

The resistance in Chindwara is against the vested interests of the state government and elected representatives from the region, so every attempt is being made to implicate the KSS leadership in other cases and this seems to be the reason for implicating Dr. Sunilam in this case too. It remains to be noted that after the police firing on farmers in Multai on January 1998 in which 24 farmers were killed and many injured, 67 cases were slapped on Dr. Sunilam. Till today hearings in nearly 16 cases are ongoing and in the rest he has been exonerated by the court or police has withdrawn the case after they could not produce sufficient evidence.

We believe the cases of the violence against Pardhi Community must be investigated and culprits be put behind bars but in the name of seeking justice for a denotified tribal community, villagers and those not involved in the crime should not be harassed. It will only serve the interests of the capital and regressive elements conspiring to take away the land water and forests in the name of development and securing power and irrigation and break the resistance. There have been allegations of the involvement of the Pardhi community in criminal activities and necessary action should be taken against them as per law. However, it is unfair and highly unjust that the whole community was targeted and the administration connived in perpetrating the crime. It is also unfortunate that the evicted families have not been rehabilitated yet and they continue to live in camps bearing the stigma of being a criminal tribe. We demand that the Government of Madhya Pradesh rehabilitates them at the earliest and help them lead a dignified life and livelihood.

We have known Dr. Sunilam for years and stand in solidarity with Dr. Sunilam of Kisan Sangharsh Samiti, a socialist, at the forefront of the resistance against the corporate takeover of natural resources and someone who has always fought for the rights of the landless peasants, farmers and adivasis. We are sure the truth will come out soon and he will be exonerated of the false charges and allegations against him in the ongoing case.

Medha Patkar, Gabriele Dietrich, Prafulla Samantara, Sandeep Pandey, Roma, Suniti S R, Anand Mazgaonkar, P Chennaiah, Ramakrishnan Raju, Gautam Bandopadhyay, Geetha Ramakrishnan, R Leelavathy, Bhupendera Singh Rawat, Vimal Bhai, Mukta Srivastava, Rajendra Ravi, Madhuresh Kumar Plea to consider a Christian for Prez or VP of India - The CSF No Reason Why Christians Should be Denied Gubernatorial Posts Rashtrapati Bbhavan IndiaThe Catholic-Christian Secular Forum (CSF), the Mumbai-based national activist community organization has launched a nationwide campaign to have a Christian nominated as the next President or Vice President of the country. According to Joseph Dias, The CSF general secretary, " there is no reason why a Christian should not be considered for President or Vice President of India, as there are more than one suitable candidates. Indian Christians have meritoriously worked their way to the top in every field of national endeavour, including being chiefs of armed forces, but top constitutional posts as these, have since the last almost 70 years eluded the community. The mood among Christians is changing and it is no longer one of passive acceptance of them being taken for granted ". "The yeoman service of the Christian community, without any discrimination, to the needy and the downtrodden is uncomparable. Yet, other religious groups like the Muslims and even the miniscule Sikhs, have had the opportunity to be represented, many times and in multiple constitutional positions. Indian Christians are the second largest minority, but have received a pittance, which needs to be corrected. A Christian would also represent other neglected tribals, the North East and other deprived sections of Indian society. There could be easily a Christian match for any other selected for the gubernatorial offices, though not merit, rather symbolicism is what matters. It is for this reason that KR Narayanan's Dalit background, Pratibha Patil's gender, besides the religion of Zail Singh and APJ Kalam, Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed and Zakir Hussain is touted. No one should hence have an objection to Christians being given a chance ", Joseph Dias added. The CSF appeals to the Church and community to get involved and will also contact leaders of the ruling and opposition political parties, including the Congress led coalition at the national level, which holds 40 per cent of the votes and the Bhartiya Janata Party, which has 30 per cent of the share. The CSF would also be meeting chief ministers of various regional parties, as the state legislatures too comprise the electoral college. Among the chief ministers, whom The CSF will be appealing to, include J Jayalalita, Mamta Bannerji, Akhilesh Yadav, Naveen Patnaik, Nitish Kumar, Mayawati etc. In a memorandum being presented to these political decision-makers, The CSF has urged that if political compulsions, prevent a Christian from being the 13th President, then at least the Vice President's nomination should be considered. India

VV launches Article 17, a Campaign to End Untouchability

Special Contribution
By Stalin K.
Apr. 20, 2012

Discrimination against untouchability Community in India

Our community correspondents have spent the last two months documenting untouchabilty across the country. Because they are from the community, they have been able to capture intimate images, rarely witnessed by outsiders.

As a child, I had experienced untouchability at school where I was forced to sit and eat separately from the children of 'upper caste' families," says 24-year old Community Correspondent Neeru Rathod from Limbdi village in Gujarat, one of the many activists trained by Video Volunteers and is part of the project. “We wanted to give viewers the responsibility, as witnesses, to end this age old oppression once and for all.”

Watch all the ARTICLE 17 videos: The videos will be broadcast on the following channels: On CNN IBN: Saturday IST, 6.30pm and 9:30pm, and Sunday 11:30am and 5:30pm. On NewsX, throughout the day as part of the daily news bulletins.

The campaign is also covered in this week’s issue of Tehelka, with whom we’re very pleased to announce an online collaboration to promote “News by Those Who Live It” on their website,

Follow us on twitter @videovolunteers and on facebook where we will be analyzing and discussing each of the videos. Watch out for the announcement of a panel discussion on twitter which Stalin K. will be hosting in the coming days on how to end Untouchability.

Most importantly, please sign our petition to the National Commission for Scheduled Castes, (the government body that is constitutionally appointed to direct and implement the safeguards against untouchability) wherever you are in the world.

The ARTICLE 17 Campaign is the beginning of our commitment to end the 2000 year old atrocity of untouchability, in all its forms.

Thank you for lending your voice to the effort to end these crimes against humanity.


Supreme Court: No hope for children studying in Minority un-Aided Primary Schools under RTE

Special Report
By Nadim Nikhat
Apr. 16, 2012

The Supreme Court of India

The Judgement came as a surprise for me as well especially the orders on non-aided minority schools. Now, RTE sans Sections 12(1)(c) and 18(3) shall be appicable on all schools including non-aided minority primary schools. Very interesting, strange and far reaching in its impact, the order promoted status quo for existing un-aided minority primary schools and RTE for others.

It's interesting to see that the judgement qualifies RTE Act vis a vis non aided minority schools on the apparent ground of "preservation of culture and script" and what about aided private minority schools, as if they have no right to preserve culture and script. So selective use of this justification for non-aided minority schools fall short of real reasoning and logic, which is ironic.

One has to understant it in perspective that what was so compelling for the court to exempt this section of schools, though principles laid down by the Apex court on many occassion, very clealy validated the regualtion on registration and maintenance of academic standards of private educational institutions including minoirty institutions.

Despite, clarifications on the part of Union HRD Ministry that 25% free seats for socialy and economically backward section of nation in private schools is not reservation rather a mechanism to curb social exclusion.

But terming it 'reservation' by the Court made it more complex because by doing this the upper cap of 50% reservation came as an obstacle for minority schools to give away the share of minority children from the 50% legitiamte share. For me the Court could have, only for the purpose of RTE Act, made exception to the existing 50% cap in Minority Primary Schools and rather would have allowed continuing / non-interfrence in the existing 50% and adding another 25% for the children of groups intented under RTE Act.

Even more, frustrating that the order exempt non-aided minority schools from the application of section 18(3), which reads as "on contravention of the conditions of recognition, the prescribed authority shall, by an order in writing withdraw recognition"

Which would mean that the standards vis a vis school infrastructure/building, academic standards, teacher-pupil ratio etc. as prescribed in Section 19 read alongwith schedules of the Act as the main guiding principle for giving recognition to schools including un-aided minority primary schools but Section 18(3) will have no application as per the Coourt's order. Interesting, all standards for schools will equally apply to the un-aided minority primary schools but their recognition can not be withdrawn on ground of violation of any such standards. therefore, in absence of any accountability mechanism for such schools, the question is that why they will bother to follow any standards and in effect the children from minority schools would be deprived of the quality assured under the Act. This is'nt injustice to them? Also, section 21A follows from Article 21 along with the Directiove Principle and not the directive principle alone under Articles 41, 45 and 46 as emphasized in the Court order.

In effect, the existing un-aided minority primary schools will exist for eternity unregulated by virture of this Order. and this order will make the new un-aided minority primary schools even more difficult to get a recognition under RTE Act. Very strange state of affair.


Special Report

Students rally protest at outside Rajghat in New Delhi

All India Parents Association (AIPA) (Delhi Unit) in its meeting held today i.e. 08-04-2012 at New Delhi has unanimously condemned the arbitrary fee hike ranging from 10% - 40% by almost all the unaided private schools of Delhi from the academic year commencing from 01-04-2012 despite the fact that there was no need to increase any fee. On the other hand, all the schools are required to reduce the existing fee by at least 50% and returned to the parents the excess fee charged in the previous years.

AIPA (Delhi Unit) has also decided that all the parents of unaided private schools shall not pay hiked fee and other charges to the schools at and would continue to pay fee and other charges at the old rates as prevailing on the 31st March 2012. The parents shall pay the fee and other charges, at the increased rates, only after the schools approach the Directorate of Education/ Justice Anil Dev Singh Committee on Fee Hike and obtain the approval from them on their increased fee structure. AIPA (Delhi Unit) has further decided to stage a peaceful demonstration in front of the office of the Director of Education sometime in the month of May 2012 to protest against the inaction on the part of the Directorate of Education to take civil and criminal actions against all the erring schools which were indicted by the Comptroller & Auditor General of India (CAG) in its audit report of 2010 and also to stop arbitrary fee hike by all unaided private schools.

The meeting was chaired by AIPA national president advocate Ashok Agarwal and attended by the parents’ representatives of over 40 unaided private schools. “It is unfortunate that despite Hon’ble Delhi High Courts’ order in favour of the parents on arbitrary fee hike, the schools are flouting the same with impunity and the Directorate of Education instead of taking action against the schools is practically protecting the mighty and the greedy managements of the unaided private schools. All the parents have to unite and fight against such injustice in order to check the menace of commercialization of education,” said advocate Ashok Agarwal.

I.S.GAMBHIR, President AIPA Delhi Unit,
DATED: 08 April 2012


Special Report
By Ashok Agarwal
Apr. 3, 2012

A private hospital in Inida

Delhi Government after Hon’ble Supreme Court upheld Delhi High Court judgment dated 22.03.2007 in Social Jurist PIL on September 01, 2010 has now moved to recover from 43 identified private hospitals unwarranted profits having been made by these hospitals by denying free-treatment to poor patients during the relevant period in accordance with the land allotment clause.

The Directorate of Health Services, Government of NCT of Delhi by its letter dated 06.03.2012 has sought detailed information from all the 43 identified Private Hospitals in the prescribed Proforma within one month in order to determine the amounts to be recovered from each hospital to be used as corpus for the welfare/treatment of the poorest in the Government Hospitals as per the directions of the Hon’ble Delhi High Court.

The Hon’ble Delhi High Court in Order dated 22.03.2007 in Social Jurist amongst others held, "There is no justification whatsoever on the part of the General, Specialty or Super Specialty hospitals not to comply with the mandate of the condition. Thus, they would be asked to make good of the non-compliance of the condition and they must repay to the authorities and the society at large for the unwarranted profits, at the cost of the poor, made by them for all these years to the extent of the percentage of free-patient treatment (in terms of money) proportionate to the number of patients treated by them during the relevant period and they must pay that money to the authorities who shall create a central corpus/pool which shall be utilized for the welfare, health-care and treatment of the poorer section of society in Government Hospitals.

A Division Bench of this Court in its order dated 07.11.2002 (referred Supra) had passed such a direction. Despite orders of this Court from time to time, the hospitals which were in default persisted with the same and showed complete disobedience to the orders of the Court. The conduct of these hospitals even during the pendency of the writ petition is not worthy of any appreciation. Rather, it would tilt towards denial of relief on equitable grounds. Thus, we direct that a special committee shall be constituted which shall carry out these directions in its best wisdom and which shall ensure that the directions of the Court are neither diluted nor rendered ineffective by such steps.”

It is unfortunate that despite High Court and Supreme Court orders, some of the identified private hospitals like Mool Chand Karaiti Ram Trust and Hospital, St. Stephen’s Hospital and Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute & Research Centre are still not at all providing free-treatment to the EWS patients. The present step of the Government to recover unwarranted profits from all the erring private hospitals would certainly go a long way in implementation of the Court Orders in accordance with which such private hospitals on public lands allotted to them on highly concessional rates are obliged to provide totally free-treatment to EWS patients to the extent of 10% IPD and 25% OPD.


Koodankulam Protesters Appeal To IAEA

Mar. 26, 2012

IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano

Dear Sir/Madam:

Greetings! We, the people of southern districts of Tamil Nadu and Kerala have been struggling against the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Project (KKNPP) at Koodankulam in Tirunelveli district, Tamil Nadu, India since its inception in the 1980s.

The KKNPP reactors from Russia are being set up without sharing the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), Site Evaluation Study and Safety Analysis Report with the people, or the people’s representatives and the press. No public hearing has been conducted for the first two reactors either. The KKNPP project has been imposed on an uninformed and unwilling population throwing all democratic precepts and values of our country to the wind.

The people of Tamil Nadu and Kerala are deeply concerned about our safety and wellbeing as the KKNPP reactors pose grave and serious threats. The actual siting of the reactors, the quality of construction and the pipe work and the overall integrity of the KKNPP structures have been called into question by the very workers and contractors who work there in Koodankulam. Similarly, the then Minister of State in the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) Mr. Jairam Ramesh announced a few months ago that the central government had decided not to give permission to KKNPP 3-6 as they had violated the Coastal Regulation Zone stipulations. It is pertinent to point out that KKNPP 1 and 2 are also violating CRZ terms.

The 2004 December tsunami did flood the KKNPP installations. There was a mild tremor in the surrounding villages of Koodankulam on March 19, 2006. On August 12, 2011, there were tremors in 7 districts of Tamil Nadu. These happenings heighten our anxieties and worries about the possibility of natural disasters occurring in the project area.

Similarly, more than 1.5 million people live within the 30 km radius of the KKNPP which far exceeds the AERB stipulations. It is quite impossible to evacuate this many people quickly and efficiently in case of a nuclear disaster.

There have been international concerns about the design, structure and workings of the untested Russian-made VVER 1000 reactors. Even a Russian government-sponsored study has found serious issues with the VVER 1000 reactors.

The issue of liability for the Russian plants has also not been settled yet. Defying the Indian nuclear liability law, Russia insists that the Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA), secretly signed in 2008 by the Indian and Russian governments, precedes the liability law and that Article 13 of the IGA clearly establishes that NPCIL is solely responsible for all claims of damage.

Our expert team has identified several serious safety issues with regards to the KKNPP project which we have listed below.

Most importantly, the KKNPP and the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd. (NPCIL) officials have not conducted any mock drills and evacuation drills in the 30 km radius. The NPCIL informed us in its letter dated January 9, 2012 (No. NPCIL/VSB/CPIO/1400/KKNPP/2012/44) that Off-site “Emergency Exercise has not been carried out in KKNPP.” In a subsequent letter dated February 16, 2012 (No. NPCIL/VSB/CPIO/1598/KK/2012/300) NPCIL stated: “As per the AERB guidelines, offsite emergency exercise shall be conducted prior to regular operation of a Nuclear Power Plant. AERB guidelines will be followed in KKNPP in this regard.” However, we hear reliably that the KKNPP officials are trying to load the fuel rods in the reactors against the AERB and other international stipulations.

In the light of the above situation, we would very much like to request you to intervene in the KKNPP matter and stall its commissioning. Looking forward to hearing from you soon, we send you our best regards and all peaceful wishes.


S.P.Udayakuamr, Ph.D.
Coordinator: PMANE


S. P. Udayakumar- 7th day of Fast- Message to the Nation

Special Report
By S. P. Udayakumar
Mar. 25, 2012

Udayakumar, hunger strike in Koodankulam

Dear Friends:

Greetings! Pushparayan, the other 12 friends and I have become weaker and tired;but we are still able to sit up and talk to people. Today is the seventh day of the indefinite hunger strike.Nobody from the State Government or the Central Government has bothered to come and see us or talk to us. A medical team came to check our health day before yesterday (March 23) but nopublic health officials came and offered any help even though some 10,000 people have been congregating here at Idinthakarai every day since March 19th.

Our friends from Idinthakarai have been cooking some simple meals for all these people and most of the people are sleeping here as there is the prohibitory order of 144 still in effect. They are scared of going out of this foot-ball stadium sized space in front of the St. Lourdeschurch.The police are waiting for me and Pushparayan to collapse so that we would go to an hospital for treatment and they could arrest us there. How cruel and nti-people our governments could become!

In the meantime, the Tamil Nadu government has convened a meeting of some 13 Panchayat (local body) leaders to plan to distribute the 500-crore package the government has announced for the victims of nuclear development. The state police continues its crack down; they tried to arrest three men at Koodankulam and they ll managed to give a slip. The police go to some of the coastal villages and order them to go fishing in order to create a pictue of normalcy in the area. They also ask them not to carry any food by boat to Idinthakarai andthreaten them with cases if they did. People defy this kind of intimidatory exercises.

This is a struggle (but ‘war’ in the eyes of our opponents) between rich, famous,powerful, upper-class and upper-caste pro-mega-development folks and poor,unknown, powerless, lower-class and lower-caste pro-sustainable development masses. The governments here work for the profit of Russia and not for the people of India. The governments engaged in massive power cuts over the past few months in order to create a huge hatred against usand opposition to our struggle. Now that they have resumed work at the Koodankulam plant, the officials say they do not know how long it will take for electricity generation.

Now people of Tamil Nadu know that Koodankulam is not the answer for our power crisis. The people of Tamil Nadu and India will wake up to many such realities soon with regards to Pechipparai dam water, reprocessing plant at Koodankulam, weapons facilities, atomic bombs etc.

India is a highly- and densely-populated country and even a small mishap at a nuclear facility will create such a havoc and meyham for millions of people and jeopardize the survival and wellbeing of millions and millions of our brothers and sisters. We are not against the progress of our country and state but we feel that such a progress should be longstanding and sustainable for our future generations also.

We have no moral authority to poison the resources of our future generations in order to produce electricity for us for 40 years. We say that let India be a world leader with creative and original ideas an d programs rather than the slave of Russia, United States and France.

The governments here are taking up a new weapon now and that is our alleged links with Naxalites (Maoists). They are fabricating evidences and concocting conversations to establish that we have connections with Naxal youth and trying to portray us as a violent group. The whole world knows that we have been struggling for the past eight months in a nonviolent manner with absolutely no violence or terror. They will fail as they have in the “foreign hand” and “foreign money” accusations. The governments are desperately trying to provoke our people to prove their theory that “ordinary citizens” of our country do not have a mind of their own; they cannot think for themselves; they cannot stand up for their rights and entitlements in a nonviolent noncooperation cmapaign; and most importantly, these fishermen, Nadars, Dalits, Muslims, women and children are all dispensable for the growth of the Chennai-based and Delhi-based multi-billionaires. Well, that is the logic of globalization and that is what we vehemently oppose.

People power or nuclear power? Moral power or money power? Citizens’ power or State power? Which side you are on? The people of Tamil Nadu, and the people of India, please think of this!

People here and I may die in this hunger strike or in a few years out of old age. Butplease think of the world, country, state you want to have for yourself and your progeny. That is what human politics is all about. I would leave the golden lines of Martin Niemoller, a German pastor and theologian for you to reflect on:

First they came for the communists, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew. Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak out for me.

S. P. Udayakumar
Idinthakarai, March 25, 2012

THAILAND: Political repression, disappearances and attacks on activists highlighted during Thai UPR outcome adoption

ALRC team reports at UN meeting

Thank you Madam President,

Mar. 21, 2012: The ALRC welcomes Thailand’s UPR, which has highlighted many shared human rights concerns, including torture, forced disappearances, extrajudicial killings, freedom of expression and lèse majesté, prison conditions, corruption, impunity, violations in the southern provinces, as well as the need for review of problematic laws, institutional reform, and a standing invitation to Special Procedures.

The ALRC welcomes the government’s signing of the international convention on disappearances in January, but this is only a first step, with effective legislation that defines and criminalises disappearances an urgent must. Eight years this week after the disappearance of renowned human rights lawyer Somchai Neelapaijit, his family have been prevented from achieving truth, justice and remedies in court, in large part due to the lack of such legislation. They continue to face grave threats and harassment. That Somchai’s is the only case of forced disappearance to have reached prosecution in court in Thailand speaks to the need for action by the government concerning disappearances and protection of witnesses and family-members.

The ALRC has noted with concern in a written submission, the growing threats to political freedom in Thailand. Following a number of lengthy sentences having been handed out abusively concerning lèse majesté under Article 112 of the Criminal Code and the 2007 Computer Crime Act, including several since Thailand’s UPR review in October 2011, in recent months, academic and human rights defenders who have called for reform of Article 112, have been threatened by high-ranking state and military officers and received explicit death threats from vigilante actors. There has been a dramatic increase in lèse majesté cases since the 19 September 2006 coup, and despite numerous domestic and international calls for action, the government has refused to review these laws to date. The ALRC calls on the government of Thailand to halt the afore-mentioned threats and abusive use of lèse majesté, and to allow a country visit by the Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression as a priority.

The ALRC also notes with concern that the UPR process has not addressed the increasingly grave problem of rights violations connected to development projects, as well as land and natural resources grabbing. In addition to concerns for the numerous affected communities, the ALRC condemns the reported threats and attacks, including abusive legal attacks and a number of extra-judicial killings, to which human rights defenders working on environmental issues are increasingly being subjected.

Speaker: Mr. Norman Voss


ICFET Concerned about Lack of Seriousness in Investigating Alleged Misuse of Intelligence Agencies

Mar. 22, 2012

Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou

According to a report published in Next Magazine last December, agents of the Ministry of Justice Investigation Bureau (MJIB) carried out intelligence-gathering operations against an opposition party and passed their reports to President Ma Ying-jeou via the secretary-general of the National Security Council (NSC). Due to the severity of these allegations, the International Committee for Fair Elections in Taiwan (ICFET) issued a statement on December 31 expressing its grave concern and calling for an independent, impartial, and thorough investigation.

On March 7, newspaper reports (see citations below) reported that the Supreme Prosecutor's Office Special Investigation Division (SID) dropped its probe into the allegations, after what can only be described as a perfunctory effort. According to the press reports, the SID's "investigation" consisted of reading the original Next Magazine article, reviewing some official press releases, and watching TV footage of Ma and Hu denying any wrongdoing. Apparently no interviews were conducted. Rather, the SID said the complainants should have produced more evidence.

The contrast with the aggressive way the SID moved to investigate the alleged improprieties in the Yu Chang case earlier in the election campaign, not to mention its ferocious attitude towards many members of the previous administration, is very stark. This differential treatment is a clear illustration of what the ICFET International Observer Mission cited in its January 15 statement ("Taiwan Elections 2012: Mostly free but partly unfair") as "misuse of government power" and the "need for structural reforms including judiciary reforms."

The SID's conduct of this case so far in no way meets the international community's expectations. It is almost certain that such intelligence operations were in fact carried out, and it is vital for the reputation of Taiwan's democracy that responsibility for such a grave violation of democratic norms be assigned clearly and properly, and all those involved be strictly dealt with. While the president himself may possess immunity from certain forms of prosecution, that does not absolve the judicial authorities of their responsibility to clarify the extent of his responsibility, if any, as well as that of the other officials.

Therefore, we call upon the Taipei District Prosecutors Office (in charge of investigating the officials alleged to be involved (notably including the NSC Secretary General Hu Wei-chen, MJIB Director Chang Ji-ping, etc.) to disregard the bad example set by the SID and carry out a thorough, professional investigation, including the roles of the officials all the way up the chain of command. If for whatever reason they are unable to investigate the top officials, then the SID must reopen the case. The frivolous effort they have made so far cannot be allowed simply to stand as the final resolution of the matter.

ICFET resolves to remain vigilant in observing the further investigations, in the hopes that the rule of law can be preserved in Taiwan. Failure to resolve this case satisfactorily will be a stain on the democratic credentials of the government.


Urging Thai Government to heed to recommendations by country delegation made during the UPR regarding justice process and unrest in the Southern Border Provinces‏

Mar. 17, 2012

Thai soldier in the Southern Border Provinces‏

A statement urging the Thai government to heed to recommendations by country delegations made during the Universal Periodic Review regarding justice process and unrest in the Southern Border Provinces

On 6 March 2012, a report has been submitted to the UPR Working Group under the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) summarizing recommendations which have been accepted and rejected by the Royal Thai Government (RTG). The report was deliberated by the UNHRC on 15 March 2012. The Cross-Cultural Foundation (CrCF) and The Muslim Attorney Centre Foundation (MAC), the two NGOs which have been working to promote access to justice in the Southern Border Provinces (SBPs), particularly among people affected by the enforcement of security laws, would like to express our concerns about the report submitted by the RTG regarding unrest in the SBPs and human rights abuse as a result of the enforcement of the special laws as follows;

Issues concerning criminal justice process and security laws

1. In 2011, CrCF and MAC have submitted a report to the Committee of the Rights of the Child (CRC) regarding child rights and juvenile justice process in the course of the implementation of special laws. The report sheds light on abuses of child rights including detention invoking the special laws. Though security laws including the Emergency Decree on Government Administration in States of Emergency B.E. 2548 (2005) require that children be detained separate from adults, but in reality, many children have been held in custody in the same facilities shared with adults and many of the children have been subjected to torture and forced to make confession. In the concluding observations by the CRC submitted to the RTG, the CRC express their concern about the detention of a child under 18 years of age and that no proper treatment of an underage detainee has been enforced despite their being detained for over 30 days. Thus, the CRC recommended to the RTG "to review its security-related laws with a view to prohibiting criminal or administrative proceeding against children under the age of 18..."

2. On 13 March 2012, with advice from the National Security Council (NSC), the cabinet decided to renew the imposition of the Emergency Decree in the SBPs for another three months, from 20 March -- 19 June 2012. The resolution was made simply on intelligence from security agencies which claim that insurgencies in the area still continue unabated, but no explanation has been made to public as to how the renewal of the states of emergency may have led to concrete solutions to the unrest and how long the order will be imposed. Certain areas in the SBPs are exempted from the imposition of states of emergency including Mae Lan District, Pattani Province, and Martial Law is also lifted in the four districts of Songkhla Province. But the laws are simply replaced by another security law, the Internal Security Act B.E.2551 (2008). Though the state claims that the new law is more friendly to local people, but according to information received by the Foundations, local people in area where the ISA is applicable are still subjected to arrests and detention by security forces and some technical and legal loopholes have been exploited to transfer the persons arrested outside the area imposed by states of emergency to the area where the Emergency Decree is applicable in order to hold them in custody for at least 30 days. Also, during the detention, the persons held in custody are persuaded to participate in training programs offered under Section 21 of the ISA in lieu of being prosecuted, and some have even been tortured and forced to join the training programs. Such compulsory treatments are in breach of either the rule of law or Thailand's international obligations as a state party to the UN Convention Against Torture (CAT) and International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

3. CrCF and MAC would also like emphasize to the UNHRC delegation that Section 17 of the Emergency Decree disallows judicial review by the Administrative Court. According to the Section, people affected by the Emergency Decree are not allowed to file complaints to demand investigation or to challenge any administrative orders, directives, notifications or any acts which may constitute an abuse of administrative power and may have led to human rights abuse. Such circumvention of the jurisdiction of the Administrative Court simply works to defend the state making them free of necessary judicial review.

CrCF and MAC would like to demand and emphasize that the RTG should accept and act in compliance with the recommendations made by country delegations through the UNHRC's UPR in order to solve unrest in the SBPs and to immediately revoke the enforcement of security laws. In addition, safeguards must be put in place to ensure that no security laws shall be applied to a child under 18 years of age.

For more information please contact: - Ms.Pornpen Khongkachonkiet +66 2 693 4939 - Mr.Sitthipong Chantharawirote +66 89 873 1626

South Korea

International Women’s Day held in Seoul

By Salai Thang
Staff Reporter
Mar. 11, 2012

The speakers and organizers of the event

International Women’s Day 2012 celebration was held in Seoul on March 8, at the Seoul Women's Plaza, organized by Seoul Foundation of Women and Family. This year, celebration presentation title is women's achievements in the sciences, engineering and technology.

Since 1975, March 8th has been recognized by the United Nations as a day to highlight the condition of all women, regardless of nationality, ethnicity, race, religion, class or political affiliation. In many countries it is a national holiday.

In the event pamphlet, it mentioned as "If every International Women's Day event held in 2012 includes girls in some way, then thousands of minds will be inspired globally." Approximately a hundreds of people attended in the event.

Prof. Heisook Lee(3rd L) and Prof. Lynn Ilon(4th R)

The number of women achievement in science and technology was very low in the past. Women are used to be consider as weaker than men, especially in the field of science and technology. Heisook Lee, a professor of mathematics in Ewha Womans University, disagreed. It was changed nowadays; women achievement in science and technology are dramatically increased, even more than men in some place. In South Korea, women received a degree in science and technology is higher even than men today, said Prof. Lee.

Currently, South Korea is chair of the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, and its Ambassador to the UN was appointed President of the UN Women Board.

THAILAND: Threats to political freedom intensify with assault on HRD and law professor

Mar. 5, 2012

Professor Worachet

On the afternoon of 29 February 2012, Professor Worachet Pakeerut, a law professor at Thammasat University, leader of the Khana Nitirat, and human rights defender (HRD), was assaulted by two men outside the Faculty of Law at Thammasat University. The two men punched Professor Worachet several times in the face until he bled and his eyeglasses were broken. He was subsequently treated at Thonburi Hospital and released. The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) would like to urgently express concern over the physical assault of Professor. The AHRC calls on the relevant Thai state agencies to take immediate action to guarantee the safety of Professor Worachet, the additional members of the Khana Nitirat, and others who are at risk for their work defending political freedom.

In January 2012, the Khana Nitirat (which means "Law for the People" in Thai), a group of seven law lecturers at Thammasat University (Worachet Pakeerut, Jantajira Iammayura, Thapanan Nipithakul, Teera Suteewarangkurn, Sawatree Suksri, Piyabutr Saengkanokkul, and Poonthep Sirinupong) proposed an amendment to Article 112 of the Thai Criminal Code. Article 112 reads: "Whoever defames, insults or threatens the King, Queen, the Heir-apparent or the Regent, shall be punished (with) imprisonment of three to fifteen years." The proposed amendment arose out of observation that in the five years since the 19 September 2006 coup, the use of Article 112 has risen exponentially, with hundreds of charges being investigated or already in the courts. The proposed amendment of the Khana Nitirat leaves the position of the monarchy within the Thai polity as it is currently, but aims to reduce the potential for abuse under Article 112 in several significant ways. The proposed amendment would make the punishment for alleged lèse majesté proportionate to the crime, limit who can file a complaint to the Office of His Majesty's Principal Private Secretary rather than any citizen, differentiate sincere and truthful criticism from threats to the monarchy, and categorize violations of Article 112 as about the honor of the monarchy, rather than national security.

The proposed amendment by the Khana Nitirat then became the basis for a nationwide campaign by the Campaign Committee to Amend Article 112 (CCAA 112), a coalition of intellectuals, media activists, human rights activists. Under the 2007 Constitution, if at least 10,000 citizens sign in support of a proposed amendment, the Parliament is obliged to examine it. Beginning on 15 January 2012, CCAA 112 began to gather signatures. Both the Khana Nitirat and CCAA 112 have faced growing harassment and threats since January 2012. The assault on Professor Worachet Pakeerut marks the first instance of the use of physical violence.

In a statement submitted on 16 February 2012 to the nineteenth session of the UN Human Rights Council (ALRC-CWS-19-02-2012), the Asian Legal Resource Center (ALRC), the sister organization of the Asian Human Rights Commission, expressed grave concern over the growing threats to political freedom in Thailand. In particular, the ALRC noted the growing backlash to the campaigns of the Khana Nitirat and the Campaign Committee for the Amendment of Article 112 (CCAA 112). The ALRC cited the danger of the combination of statements asking the campaigners to halt their activities and vaguely threatening violence made by the commanders of the state security forces with growing vigilante rhetoric propagated by civil society actors. In particular, the ALRC noted with concern the specific death threats made in the comments section of articles on Manager (Phuchadkan) newspaper online, including calls for the members of the Khana Nitirat to be beheaded and their heads placed on stakes outside the university gates and calls for them to be burned alive with their families outside the homes.

The AHRC would like to reiterate the ALRC's comment that, "While vigorous debate from all points of view enhances democracy and the exercise of human rights, making death threats is outside the purview of vigorous debate." In the context of the recent attack on Professor Worachet, the AHRC would further note that physical assault represents an ominous escalation of the dangers faced by the Khana Nitirat and others promoting critical discussion about the appropriate role and form of Article 112 in present-day Thailand.

The Asian Human Rights Commission would like to remind the Thai government that they are a state party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and are bound to uphold the human rights principles named therein. In particular, the AHRC would like to call on the Thai state to uphold Article 19 of the ICCPR, which guarantees the rights to political freedom and freedom of expression. In this case, part of upholding the ICCPR means protecting those whose views are dissident and ensuring that they can safely exercise their political freedom.

It is imperative that the Thai state's protection of the rights guaranteed in Article 19 and the remainder of the ICCPR be active, rather than passive. The AHRC therefore calls on the Metropolitan police to conduct a full investigation into the attack on Professor Worachet Pakeerut and bring the men who assaulted him to justice. This will both serve to specifically protect Professor Worachet and the additional members of the Khana Nitirat, and will also signal to other vigilante actors that these kinds of attacks will not be tolerated in the Thai polity.


Say no to water privatisation and commodification

Special Contribution
By Soheb Lokhandwala
Mar. 3, 2012

Water crisis

Dear All,

Water is a natural resource, fundamental to life, livelihood, food security and sustainable development. It is also a scarce resource. India has more than 17 percent of the world‟s population, but has only 4% of world‟s renewable water resources with 2.6% of world‟s land area.

GOI wants to draft water policy in such a way that it becomes commercial commodity'& outsource to private companies in near future.

The World Bank has predicted that by 2025, two-thirds of the world’s population will run short of fresh drinking water. Given such a grim outlook, it comes as little surprise that Fortune magazine recently defined water as “the oil of the 21st century.” Poised to capitalize on this crisis are private companies, many of which are multinationals whose tentacles are probing the planet for opportunities to turn the misery of water-starved regions into profits for their executives and stockholders.

Instead of protecting existing supplies, enhancing conservation efforts, helping vulnerable populations, curbing pollution and raising public awareness, more and more government officials throughout the world are turning to privatization — transferring the control of this precious resource from the public sector to the private sector.

Reasons to Oppose Water Privatization:-

1) Privatization Leads to Rate Increases 2) Privatization Undermines Water Quality 3) Companies Are Accountable to Shareholders, Not Consumers 4) Privatization Fosters Corruption 5) Private Financing Costs More than Public Financing 6) Privatization Leads to Job Losses 7) Privatization is Difficult to Reverse 8) Privatization Can Leave the Poor with No Access to Clean Water 9) Privatization Would Open the Door for Bulk Water Exports 10) Privatization Reduces Local Control and Public Rights

To make better and save of future making precious natural resource 'water' being sold& privatize,we need sign the petition Saying no to water privatisation and commodification.

With Warm regards

Do Join FB links:-


Kisan Sangharsh Samiti Demonstrates Against Forced Land Acquisitions in Bhopal, MP

Special Report
By Dr.Sunilam Ex.MLA

Kisan Sangharsh Samiti Demonstration

Feb. 23, 2012. “Farmers demonstration at Vidhan Sabha to get back acquired land and cancellation of Adani :- Pench Power Project ”

Kisan Sangharsh Samiti organized a demonstration at Madhya Pradesh Vidhan Sabha demanding cancellation of Adani Pench Power Project, Pench Diversion Project, S.K.S Project, MAXCO Project in Chindwada district and handing over of land back to the 50 thousand farmers of 50 villages.

Thousands of farmers assembled today morning at Sahjani Park & marched towards assembly. They were stopped at Neelam park by police, where they started dharna till sunset. NAPM National Coordinator Madhuresh Kumar gave vivid account of the violation of environment loss and loot of Natural Resources done by Adani’s in Mundra, Gujrat. He said that without getting clearance from Ministry of Environment and Forest in Chindwada. Adani’s has started doing similar crime which must be stopped by people. He extended solidarity of 250 peoples movements to Kisan Sangharsh Samiti struggle.

Mansaram, Leader of Narmada Bachao Aandolan said that people’s power is the Supreme power in the democracy but government are not ready to honor peoples power. He gave detailed account of NBA struggle and achievements.

Addressing the farmers Working President of KSS, Ex. M.L.A Dr. Sunilam demanded that government of Madhya Pradesh take the position that agriculture land will be acquired and no land acquisition will be done without consent of Gram Sabha. He demanded that government should bring this resolution and get it passed in Vidhan Sabha for inclusion in the proposed land acquisition bill to be passed in the Budget Session of Parliament.

Dr. Sunilam said that the government will not be allowed to become agent of business houses while taking votes on the name of welfare of common peoples. Dr. Sunilam said that Supreme Court has directed all the state governments to clear the encroachments of the graveyards and grazing lands, but government of Madhya Pradesh has allowed not only encroachments of graveyards and grazing lands but also allowed Adani’s to encroach the public village roads and 20 hectares of “Chote jhad ka jungle”. In Katni, grazing land is given away to Sukhsagar Builders. Similarly land acquired on the name of irrigation in the Pench Diversion Project is being used for providing water to Adani’s, which is totally illegal.

Advt. Aradhna Bhargav, Vice President of KSS & Leader of Project affected farmer of Chindwada said that government had acquired land of farmers for building canals at the cost of 15000 rupees per acre, subsequently destroying the adjoining farm lands and now the same water is sold out to Adani’s illegally. She demanded that land acquired by the government the Adani Pench Power Project, Pench Diversion Project, S.K.S Project, MAXCO Project must be given back to the farmers after cancellation of the projects. She said that we do not want to get in to severe conflict with government but farmers are being cornered to stop construction work of canals by doing Satyagarh at construction site, because concerned officials are not ready to talk to the farmers. She threatened the government to take the issue to streets of Delhi by organizing demonstration at Parliament House on the 22nd – 23rd March.

Dr.A.K Khan, V.P of KSS said that villagers of Padua village are fighting for long time to save the village land which is being allotted to Sukhsagar Pvt. Ltd.

He said that farmers are ready to sacrifices there mother land and go to any extent for the same. He demanded state government to save the public lands, which is necessary not only for farmers but also for survival of cattle’s.

Ghudo Patel District President, Rama Patel Vice President, Kunj Bihari Patel Gen. Secretary, Kamal Singh Treasurer Rakesh Verma Secretary, Mekhlal Asst. Secretary, Block President of Chindwada Sajje Chandrvansi, Devi Chandrvansi Vice President, Mahesh Daheria Treasurer, Balram Chandrvansi, Kisnu, Kunjvihari Sharma Gen. Secretary, Chinga Verma Choria Block President, Sukhlal verma, Vice President, Balram Verma Gen.Secretary, Jitu Masram Secretary & Other KSS Leaders led the demonstration.

KSS also gave memorandum to Chief Minister, Irrigation Minister, Revenue Minister.

Deepak Pauranik Spokesperson /State Secretary, KSS 9926850848


Activists Call for Kashmiri Christian Package & Union Government to Act

Special Report
By Joseph Dias

L - R: Joseph Dias,Adv. Iftikhar Bazmi, Justice Michael Saldanha

Religious Cleansing Complete - Kashmir is 100% Muslim - after Pundits, Sikhs & Now Christians Flee Victims recount tales of horror, as hundreds live as refugees, children & women suffer abuse in Kashmir Christians face torture, persecution, en masse massacre, violation of human rights & take-over of NGOs Justice Saldanha calls for regulation of Shariet Court and legislation to safeguard interests of minorities Adv. Iftikhar Bazmi, international peace activist says targeting Kashmiri Christians is un-Islamic Joseph Dias calls for a special camp and package from PM's relief fund to care for victims

Indian Christians, unable to bear the wrath of radical "Islamists" have fled Kashmir and live scattered through out the country. The tales of woe faced by clergymen, community leaders and their families were narrated by the victims and others at a meet organized by The Catholic-Christian Secular Forum, (CSF) a Mumbai based activist NGO, advocating their cause and working to rehabilitate the affected.

Justice Michael Saldanha, a retired judge from the Bombay and Karnataka High Courts said that it was unfortunate that the state government could not guarantee the safety and security of its citizens. "There was no question of there being a "Supreme Court of Islamic Shariet" issuing fatwas and the state government looking the other way. The Sharia is not applicable to non-Muslims and must be restricted to the community. The Christians in Kashmir were facing the same fate as that of the Hindu Pundits and even worse because they are miniscule in number and are commanded by their faith, not to retaliate", he added.

Advocate Iftikhar Bazmi, who was also summoned by the Shariet Court, said he did not go because those at the helm of affairs behaved in an un-Islamic manner. He called upon the Jammu and Kashmir government to protect minorities and ensure rule of law, as such fundamentalism would only prove to be disastrous for the country. He also pointed out that while India had amended its Constitution to include the words "secular democracy", the J & K Constitution was not amended. Advocate Bazmi is India representative on the International Center for Religion and Diplomacy, headquartered in Washington DC and is also secretary of the Poonch Bar Association in J & K.

Joseph Dias, The CSF general secretary urged the prime minister to grant a special package from the PM's Relief Fund to take care of the victims, who were no less refugees in their own land. He appealed to the union government to intervene and resolve the issue, which concerned Indian Christians, who were being treated worse than second class citizens and were at least entitled to fundamental human rights. The CSF released its report, after a team went to J & K recently to find out and document the persecution, which was no different to those experienced in extremist countries.

Victims describe what Kashmiri Christian families are facing

1. Burnt with live coals and left to die 2. Homeless in the snow, with no money 3. No freedom of religion or right to choose 4. Brutally injured, with suffering wives and children 5. Maulvi Committees and Special Investigation Teams 6. Fanatics claim Police, Judiciary and Government with them 7. Socio-Economic boycott leaves the Christians impoverished 8. Demonizing and profiling Christians to religiously cleanse them 9. Islamic finance pouring in and being used to finance the war on Christians 10. Danger of extremists and anti-national forces jumping on the bandwagon 11. Fanatics falsely claim 20,000 Muslims converted to Christianity since 1990s 12. Many districts are affected by persecution, where Christians are hounded out

23 year ago: 19, January, 1990 - Pundits & Christians of Pundit Origin hounded This is exactly what is happening to the 200 odd Christians in the Kashmir valley

• Christian children die, wives separated to be given to others and property taken. • Christian families are near-death because of attacks and total boycott, forsaken by all. • Christians must revert or leave Kashmir. Else face the consequences that few want to. • Christian institutions/NGOs face being taken over and the community becoming extinct. • Churches or Christians can do nothing but become martyrs for they cannot take up arms.

Ground Zero realities: Christian Victims of “Supreme Court of Islamic Shariet”

1. Hate campaigns, frenzied zealots, loot.. 2. Hostile legal and official state machinery 3. Christian schools & institutions targeted 4. Christians are soft targets with no support 5. Muslims well organized to protect the faith 6. Persecution history of death, churches burnt & mayhem 7. Hundred percent Muslim Kashmir – Christian dilemma in J & K

Democracy, Federalism, Secularism, Harmony & Minority Rights at Stake

The CSF Urgent Recommendations

1. The union government must intervene forthwith put an end to the persecution caused by the Islamic fundamentalists, under the garb of Shariet law and the enquiries being conducted by the Special Investigation Team, appointed by the state government, which is targeting Christians.

2. The union & state governments must ensures the safety of Rev. CM Khanna, Fr. Jim Borst, missionaries and dozen converted families, whose lives and property are in danger. All secular-minded citizens feel that there is grave threat and Christians live in fear and constant danger.

3. The affected Kashmiri Christians, living worst than refugees must be rehabilitated in a camp at Jammu or any suitable place, given property and facilities, government jobs and loans, free-ships and grants, besides other facilities to rebuild their lives and survive elsewhere in J & K.

4. If the union and state governments can’t take care of even the basic needs of the Kashmiri Christians, which is security and freedom of religion, then the government should declare them as “refugees” or “internally displaced persons”, which will enable them get relief from elsewhere.

5. The “Supreme Court of Islamic Shariet in J & K”, is an extra-constitutional authority, with no legal sanction and Fatwas or complaints by / against believers of any faiths is unhealthy for secularism & is to be avoided. The communal harmony and rule of law needs to be restored.

6. Efforts must be made to stop the rumor-mongering and baseless allegations, being made in Kashmir and stereotyping / profiling the Christian community, as converting with allurements, such as providing neo-converts with money, alcohol, women, passports, immoral lifestyle, etc.

7. The civil society, human rights activists, mass media and patriots must rise to the occasion and express solidarity with the Christians in Kashmir and ensure that their constitutional rights and freedoms are safeguarded – as in such a hostile environment, they are defenceless.

8. The police under pressure from the "Supreme Court of Islamic Shariet", has registered false cases trumped-up under sections 153A and 295A, for spreading hatred between communities, etc. These cases have been forged upon the missionaries and Christians without a shred of evidence. We therefore urge that they be squashed by the government.

9. The state government needs to consider extending the National Minorities Commission Act and other such human rights and Indian Constitutional safeguards legislation or enact such laws for application in J & K, to ensure that the fundamental guarantees to citizens are available, as available in all other parts of the country.

Some of those affected by persecution: Fr. Jim Borst - Serving J & K for 50 years Rev. CM Khanna – Serving as priest for 35 years Juan Marcos Troia, an Argentinian football coach Rev. Gayur Massih and Family – 22 years in ministry Rev. S. Neethirajan and Family – 20 years in ministry Mr. Predhuman Joseph Dhar – Bible scholar of Pundit origin

* The Kashmiri Christian cause has received support from a number of activist community organizations, like J&K United Christian Federation, J&K Catholic Sabha, Panun Kashmir, Association of Concerned Catholics, etc.

For more info, contact:

Joseph Dias +91 9769555657, Justice Michael F Saldanha, Adv. Iftikhar Bazmi.

UN Committee calls on Vietnam to cease persecution of religious and ethnic minorities

Feb. 24, 2012

Vo Van Ai speaking at the CERD

At the 80th Session of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

GENEVA, (VIETNAM COMMITTEE) - The Vietnam Committee on Human Rights regrets that Vietnam missed a precious opportunity to engage in a meaningful dialogue with the United Nations in Geneva on 21-22 February 2012 during the examination of its 10th-14th periodic reports on implementation of the UN International Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) to which it acceded in 1982. Instead of addressing real challenges, Vietnam confined itself to propaganda. “Vietnam cites the quantity of laws it has adopted as proof of the rule of law in Vietnam. It pretends to believe that everything in the garden is rosy, simply because it says so. In fact, many of Vietnam’s mass-produced laws are rarely or never enacted; the stark reality for religious and ethnic minorities is the anti-human rights policy of the regime”, said Vo Van Ai, President of the Vietnam Committee for Human Rights (VCHR).

“Vietnam’s presentation of its periodic report was surreal”, said Mr. Ai. “The delegation began by describing the resounding success of its policies on ethnic minorities, supporting its claims with Soviet-style statistics - 100% of cities have primary schools and free clinics! It then proceeded to lament the lack of access to education and health in the remote regions where ethnic communities live. In fact, the report was more like a bad exercise in propaganda than a genuine effort to address problems of racial discrimination in Vietnam”.

The CERD experts saw through Vietnam’s claims, and sharply criticized the delegation for presenting a theoretical vision of racial discrimination, with a long list of laws but no concrete details on their implementation. Regretting that no factual examples of discrimination were mentioned, French expert Regis de Gouttes observed that “the lack of complaints against racism is not proof that racism does not exist. On the contrary, this could stem from the victims’ lack of knowledge of their rights, or their lack of confidence in the Police and judiciary”. He also questioned the system of ho khau, or household registration permits, which is the basis of all discrimination. The US expert Carlos Manuel Vazquez commented that Vietnam’s claim that “discrimination is prohibited” is no guarantee that it does not exist on the ground.

The UN experts also criticized Vietnam’s legal system, notably Article 87 of the Penal Code on “undermining the unity policy; sowing divisions between the religious and non-religious” which the government claimed was enacted to protected minorities. Mr. Vazquez noted that this article was “so vaguely worded as to be used against minorities, especially those engaged in peaceful demonstrations”, and called on Vietnam to revise it. The Vietnamese delegation initially avoided this question, then stated that they would “think about it”, adding that if ethnic minorities had their rights, there were also people who “abused” these rights. Such people were “deceitful and harmful, and must be sanctioned by the law”. Article 87 is one of a whole chapter of “national security” provisions in the Vietnamese Penal Code. Since 1995, the UN has repeatedly pressed Vietnam to revise these “catch-all” provisions which criminalize the legitimate exercise of human rights.

Taking up reports by NGOs, notably the 30-page alternative report of the Vietnam Committee on Human Rights, the CERD experts expressed concern about the use of negative stereotypes that stigmatize ethnic minorities as being “backward” or “uncivilized”. Once again, the Vietnamese delegation responded that such stereotypes were “prohibited”. In practice, however, these negative misperceptions are very real. “The Vietnamese government, the state-controlled media and the Vietnamese population in general continue to refer to ethnic minorities by the derogatory term “moi” (“savages”), whereas the word “Kinh”, used for the majority Vietnamese population, is a term which implies superiority”, commented Vo Van Ai.

The CERD expressed further concern about abuses of political and economic rights suffered by ethnic and religious minorities. French expert Regis de Gouttes and several other experts cited violations such as expropriation from ancestral lands, forced population displacement, restrictions on the rights of freedom of movement and expression, violence, arbitrary arrests and religious persecution. Mr. de Gouttes expressed particular concern about repression against “Khmer Krom Buddhists, affiliated to the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam, as well as Montagnards and Hmongs, who are predominantly Christian”.

Chinese expert Huang Yong’An, who is also Rapporteur for the CERD examination of Vietnam, raised the serious problem of state confiscation of lands: “A Chinese proverb says, “oppressive government drives the people to rebellion”. When we look at the conflicts in ethnic minority regions, we find that many are related to issues of land-use rights. One NGO report (1) said, I quote, “peaceful demonstrations on these issues are repressed by excessive force and violence, resulting in frequent arrests”.

Confronted by the experts’ concerns on human rights violations, the Vietnamese delegation simply repeated that “there is no racial discrimination in Vietnam”. On specific allegations of Police violence used to repress demonstrations of ethnic Hmongs in May 2011, the government denied all use of force. In fact, many press agencies reported Vietnam’s use of armed helicopters and troops to disband these peaceful demonstrations in Muong Nhe province. Vietnam even mobilized support from armed forces in Laos to prevent Hmongs escaping across the Vietnam-Laos border.

Several experts urged Vietnam to develop mechanisms to enable ethnic minorities to claim and defend their rights. Nigerian expert Waliakoye Saidou urged Vietnam to recognize the competence of the CERD Committee to receive complaints from victims of abuses in Vietnam, in accordance with Article 14 of the ICERD Convention. The Vietnamese delegation made no reply. Asked whether Vietnam was considering the creation of a National Human Rights Commission on the lines of the Paris Principles, the delegation replied that it was considering the creation of such a Commission according to the “country’s specific conditions”, which would not necessarily conform with the Paris Principles. “Under current circumstances in Vietnam, where spurious laws have remained unchanged for decades, where there is no independent civil society and especially no independent judiciary, a National Human Rights Commission would be a parody of justice, a total farce”, said Vo Van Ai.


Ten activists charged for protesting against undemocratic legislation

Protest in Thailand in 2011

Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) is calling for court observers at the resumption of the trial of ten activists, who are being prosecuted under Criminal Code on trespassing and coercion in relation to peaceful protest that was held on 12 December 2007 in Thailand. The trial of them case will be on February 21 - 24 and 28 - 29, 2012 and on March 2012 and on April 2012, at the Criminal Court in Bangkok.

The details about case and schedule of trial and the witnesses on which the defense would be presenting are below from update information by defendants which call international observers and others for hearing the trial:

Update on The "NLA Sit-In" Trial of 10 Thai Human Rights Defenders

The defendants and their lawyers wish to invite international observers, observers from human rights and media rights organisations based in Thailand, and representatives from foreign embassies in Thailand to attend the trial to help ensure that they receive a fair hearing, as they believe that the charges against them and the possible penalties that they face are grossly disproportionate to their non-violent actions of civil disobedience against a legislature appointed by a military junta which was rushing through legislation affecting human rights and civil liberties just 11 days prior to a general parliamentary election.

The Defendants are: 1. Mr. Jon Ungphakorn, NGO and human rights activist 2. Mr. Sawit Keaw-wan, state enterprise union leader 3. Mr. Sirichai Maingam, state enterprise union leader 4. Mr. Pichit Chaimongkol, NGO and political activist 5. Mr. Anirut Khaosanit, farmers' rights activist 6. Mr. Nasser Yeemha, NGO and political activist 7. Mr. Amnat Palamee, state enterprise union leader 8. Mr. Pairoj Polpetch, NGO and human rights activist 9. Ms. Saree Ongsomwang, NGO and consumer rights activist 10. Ms. Supinya Klangnarong, Freedom of expression and media reform activist

The Charges:

Collaborating to incite the public to violate the law through speech, writing, or other means outside the boundaries of constitutional rights or legitimate freedom of expression (Section 116 of the Criminal Code -- maximum penalty of 7 years imprisonment); gathering in a group of 10 or more people, in the capacity of leaders or commanders, to threaten or to carry out an act of violence or to act in a way which causes a public disturbance (Section 215 of the Criminal Code -- maximum penalty of 5 years imprisonment and/or fine of up to Baht 10,000); trespass with use of violence (Sections 362, 364, and 365 of the Criminal Code -- maximum penalties of 5 years imprisonment and/or fines of up to Baht 10,000 under both Sections 362 and 364 as qualified under Section 365)

Trial Dates: (Tuesdays to Fridays)

a) Hearing witnesses for prosecution (Total 24 sessions) February 21-24, 28-29 Morning session 09.00-12.00, Afternoon session 13.30-16.30 March 1- 2, 13-16, Morning session 09.00-12.00, Afternoon session 13.30-16.30

b) Hearing witnesses for defence (Total 24 sessions) March 20-23, 27-30 Morning session 09.00-12.00, Afternoon session 13.30-16.30 April 3-5, 10 Morning session 09.00-12.00, Afternoon session 13.30-16.30

The most important dates for attending the trial are:

1) February 21st 2012 (morning and afternoon), which is the opening day for hearing witnesses at which the most important prosecution witnesses will be testifying , including former speaker of the National Legislative Assembly, Mr. Meechai Ruchupan, a notorious legal expert who has served a number of dictatorial regimes.

2) March 20th-23rd and 27th (morning and afternoon) during which the 10 defendants will be testifying in order (half-day each)

3) March 28th-30th, April 3rd-5th, April 10th 2012 during which prominent defence witnesses will be testifying:

- 28th March (morning) Pravit Rojanaphruk (afternoon) Gothom Arya, Nirun Pitakwatchara - 29th March (morning) Ubonrat Siriyuvasak - 30th March (morning) Vitit Muntarbhorn - 4th April (afternoon) Chaiwat Satha-Anand - 5th April (morning) Kanit na Nakorn - 10th April (afternoon) Phra Phaisan Visalo - April 10th 2012 is expected to be the last day of the trial before day set for reading the verdict (not yet known)

From 21 February - 10 April 2012, ten prominent Thai NGO/ labour union/ human rights activists will be on trial at the Criminal Court, Rachadapisek Road, Bangkok on serious criminal charges relating to national security, public peace, and trespass with use of force arising from a mass sit-in staged in the lobby in front of the meeting chamber of the National Legislative Assembly on 12 December 2007. If found guilty of all charges, they could face prison sentences of up to 20 years.

Background Information

Following the military coup on 19 September 2006 and the suspension of the 1997 Constitution, the military council formed by the coup leaders established a "National Legislative Assembly" (NLA) to act as an interim unicameral legislature for enacting legislation until parliamentary elections were held under a new constitution. All members of the NLA were selected by the military council.

After the promulgation of the 2007 constitution on 24 August 2007, the NLA continued to function as the legislature, and during the last two months before the general parliamentary election of 23 December 2007, the NLA rushed through the passage of a number of extremely controversial laws affecting human rights, civil liberties, community rights, and social justice. This was done despite strong opposition and protests by many civil society groups. The most controversial of these was Internal Security Act, a law demanded by the military to allow them to hold special powers to deal with national security issues after the return to elected civilian government. Other controversial laws passing through the NLA included legislation on privatisation of state universities, water management, and state enterprises.

On 11-12 September 2007 the Thai NGO Coordinating Committee (NGO-COD) with Jon Ungphakorn (1st defendant) serving as Chair and Pairoj Polpetch (8th defendant) as Vice-Chair held a consultation involving a number of civil society networks and labour union leaders which ended with a public statement and press conference calling on the NLA to abandon consideration of 11 controversial bills considered to violate the rights, freedoms, and welfare of the public according to the 2007 Constitution.

On 26 September 2007, a delegation from NGO-COD and the Confederation of State Enterprise Labour Unions submitted an open letter to the NLA Speaker, Mr. Meechai Ruchupan at the parliament building.

On 29 November 2007, a mass demonstration was held outside the parliament building and grounds, demanding that the NLA immediately abandon consideration of the 11 controversial bills, requesting members of the NLA to consider resigning their office , and asking members of the public to sign a petition for the NLA to cease all legislative activities in view of the coming elections for a democratic parliament.

On 12 December 2007 another mass demonstration was held outside the parliament building and grounds, this time involving well over one thousand demonstrators. At around 11.00 a.m. over 100 demonstrators climbed over the metal fence surrounding the parliament building using make-shift ladders to enter the grounds of parliament. Then, around 50-60 demonstrators were able to push their way past parliamentary guards to enter the lobby in front of the NLA meeting chamber where the NLA was in session. They then sat down peacefully in concentric circles on the lobby floor. Negotiations with some members of the NLA and with a high-ranking police official ensued, until at around 12.00 noon the demonstrators were informed that the NLA meeting had been adjourned. The demonstrators then left the parliament building and grounds, returning to join the demonstrations outside the premises.

Further demonstrations were held outside the parliament building and grounds amidst tight police security on 19 December 2007. Despite all the protests, the NLA passed the Internal security Act which remains in force to this day. Some of the other controversial laws were also passed.

On 22 January 2008 the ten defendants were summoned by police to acknowledge a number of charges against them. Later prosecutors asked police to investigate further, more serious charges which were then brought against the defendants, while less serious charges such as using a loudspeaker without prior permission were dropped. The prosecution was submitted to the Criminal Court on 30 December 2010, and all the defendants were allowed to post bail by the court.


UN to review Vietnam’s efforts to eliminate racial discrimination

Ethnic minority in Vietnam

Geneva-Paris-Bangkok, 20 February 2012. The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and its member league the Vietnam Committee on Human Rights (VCHR) urge the Vietnamese authorities, when they go before the UN Committee on Elimination of Racial Discrimination this week, to make firm commitments to address persistent discriminatory practices against religious and ethnic minorities and end restrictions on their fundamental freedoms.

In a 30-page alternative report entitled “Violations of the Rights of Ethnic and Religious Minorities in the Socialist Republic of Vietnam” (1), the Vietnam Committee on Human Rights raised serious concerns on Vietnam’s implementation of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) to which it acceded to in 1982. The CERD is examining the Vietnamese government’s combined 10th and 14th periodic reports on February 21-22 in Geneva. This is only Vietnam’s fourth reporting to CERD and the first in almost a decade, despite its obligations under the Convention to report to CERD every two years after its first report.

VCHR’s report, which will be presented to the CERD today (Monday 20th February) by VCHR President Vo Van Ai, details a range of violations of the rights of and discrimination against ethnic minorities in both law and practice, despite constitutional prohibition of discrimination and Vietnam’s obligations under the human rights conventions it has ratified. The indigenous Montagnards and the Hmongs are among the ethnic groups who have borne the brunt of the Vietnamese government’s discriminatory policies.

The report points to the wide disparities between the majority Kinh people and the various ethnic minorities in terms of their enjoyment of economic, social and cultural rights, within a one-party authoritarian system that also denies citizens basic civil and political rights to participate in decision-making that affect their livelihood and standard of living. Wealth disparities are “increasingly alarmingly” and government programmes supposedly aimed at reducing poverty “often include campaigns to eradicate the culture, traditional lifestyle, religious beliefs and practices of minority peoples, resulting in even greater marginalization,” the report said.

“Vietnam’s economic growth has often been touted by the government internationally as a human rights ‘achievement’; a closer look at disaggregated data, however, would reveal that the benefits of such growth has not been evenly enjoyed by the wider population, especially among ethnic minorities, who remain far behind their Kinh counterparts in areas such as health, education, and employment,” said Souhayr Belhassen, President of FIDH. “This cannot be attributed solely to ‘market forces’ but is in fact also a result of the implementation of a range of discriminatory institutional, legislative and policy tools for control that are inconsistent with international human rights standards.”

Activities of ethnic minorities, including their religious practices, are subject to extensive and arbitrary controls by numerous government regulations, decisions and directives, which in practice also seriously undermine the fundamental civil rights, such as the rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association; to freedom of movement and residence; to leave and return to one’s country; and to own property and to inherit. Members of religious minority groups such as the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam (UBCV), the Hoa Hao, Cao Dai and Khmer Krom Buddhists are subjected to systematic repression including imprisonment, torture, house arrest, police surveillance, intimidation and harassments in all aspects of their daily lives.

The judiciary is not independent in Vietnam and is thus unable to adjudicate against discriminations and guarantee the right to equality before the law. In one glaring example of the judicial persecution of ethnic minorities, the VCHR report stated that “more than 350 Montagnards have been sentenced to long prison sentences since 2001 for participating in demonstrations, attempting to flee the country or attending prayers in “unrecognized” house churches”. In just one trial in April 2011, eight Montagnards were sentenced to a total of 75 years in prison and 24 years house arrest.

“As our report reveals, ethnic and religious minorities in Vietnam suffer serious violations of their political and economic rights, such as expropriation from ancestral lands, population displacement, State-sponsored migration of Kinh people into minority regions, religious persecution, arbitrary arrest and disappearances” said Vo Van Ai, President of the VCHR and recent laureate of the Società Libera Special Prize for Freedom.

Mr. Ai also stressed the importance of political reforms in addressing these problems. “For the past 36 years, a 3-million minority of Communist Party members has imposed a policy of discrimination against the majority of 89 million people in Vietnam. It is time that this discrimination is put to an end, and the Party and Government effectively protect the rights of all their citizens, and guarantee the freedoms of ethnic and religious minorities in Vietnam”.

FIDH and VCHR call on CERD to urge the Vietnamese government to:

- Implement urgent reforms in Vietnam’s legal system to combat racial discrimination and bring domestic laws and practices into line with the international human rights instruments which it has ratified;

- Cease religious persecution, including forced renunciations of faith and detention of religious followers on trumped-up “political” accusations;

- Dismantle the discriminatory household registration system, or ho khau;

- Take effective steps to eradicate misperceptions and negative stereotypes that stigmatise and marginalise ethnic minorities; and

- Recognise the competence of the CERD Committee to receive individual complaints from victims of racial discrimination in accordance with article 14, paragraph 1, of the Convention.

Press contact:

FIDH: Karine Appy/Arthur Manet, + 33 1 43 55 14 12 / + 33 1 43 55 25 18

VCHR: Vo Tran Nhat, +33 1 45 98 30 85 / + 33 6 62 17 42 29

An Ethnic Kachin displacement in Myanmar

Special Report
By Dr. Gerhard Baumgard
Feb. 19, 2012

A camp close to Laiza

The shelter situation is progressively deteriorating despite partners’ interventions, as in recent months the number of IDPs camps/sites has increased and more people continue to flee to safer locations.

In Myitkyina, Waingmaw, Bhamo, Momauk, Mansi, the number of sites has increased from 39 in September to 83 in December. Partners also indicated that shelter needs remain in camps along the border with China areas as IDPs there did not receive any significant shelter assistance since the beginning of the crisis.

In response to a Government request, UNHCR has constructed 269 temporary housing family units in Myitkyina and Waingmaw Townships. World Vision provided shelters for 50 IDPs households in Waningmaw Township.

Nonetheless, in view of the increasing number of displaced and IDPs camps overcrowding, shelter intervention need to be further expanded. As an example, the UN team reported that in Shan Kyaing village, shelter assistance is urgently needed for 268 IDPs households as the existing temporary dwellings are in poor conditions and cannot resist rain and strong wind.

UNHCR also conducted Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM) trainings from 14 to 16 December, targeting local authorities, NGOs, FBOs, and CBOs, volunteers and UN staff directly involved in camp management activities in Myitkyina, Waingmaw, Bhamo, Moemauk and Mansi Townships.

As the cold season has started and the temperature has significantly dropped in recent weeks, most of the IDPs need additional NFI support, particularly blankets and warm clothes. UNHCR, UNICEF and World Vision and other partners mobilized internal resources and distributed approximately 5,000 NFI household kits since the beginning of the operation.

On 11 January, UNHCR provided NFIs to some 268 households in Shan Kyaing camp and do not foresee additional NFI needs in the village in coming months. In Hpakan, some 1,665 persons (out of a total of 1,932 IDPs) have been provided with tarpaulins and NFIs (blankets, kitchen utensils, clothes and mosquito nets) on 15 January.

In partnership with national NGOs, UNHCR will further distribute additional 1,000 sets of NFIs in Bhamo and Waingmaw Townships. UNICEF will provide 500 family kits and some blankets in remaining areas of Bhamo.


Women’s League of Burma urges all parties to work together towards genuine and long-lasting peace in Burma

Feb. 14, 2012

Members of Women’s League of Burma

Women’s League of Burma (WLB) calls for U Thein Sein Government to implement a nation-wide ceasefire, which was announced officially in August 2011, and urges all parties to work together towards genuine and long-lasting peace in Burma. U Thein Sein’s government formed a peace committee, and the committee has met with ethnic armed groups and signed ceasefire agreements. WLB is concerned if the intention to enter ceasefire agreement is genuine as the agreements could be broken anytime if it is not genuine.

The desire of all ethnic nationalities including Kachin, Chin and Shan has been to form a federal union based on the Panglong Agreement where they can exercise self- determination.

In Burma, Union Day’s celebrations are annually held with no political essence. Without a true spirit and practice of a union, these celebrations are meaningless, and there will be unresolved political settlement. The renewed fighting with Kachin Independence Army has proved that the ceasefire agreement can be only temporary.

We believe that it is a crucial time among all parties to build mutual trust, and for U Thein Sein Government to respect the desire of all ethnic nationalities toward genuine peace.

The civil war has been going on for more than sixty years, and the successive regimes have spent the excessive expenditure on military instead of allocating the national revenue for social and economic development for the people. Consequently, the people in Burma and children have been suffered from all kinds of extreme hardships.

Women and children, in particular, are the impact of the war, and often are victims of human rights abuses. Therefore, it is essential that women’s participation at every level of the peace process so that their concerns and voices are in the discussion.

WLB strongly encourages all parties to include women’s representatives in all peace dialogues.

We call upon U Thein Sein Government and Burma’s Army (Tatmadaw), all democracy groups, ethnic armed groups (both ceasefire and semi-ceasefire) work together towards genuine and long-lasting peace and reconciliation in Burma.

Contact Person: Tin Tin Nyo - +66-81 - 0322-882 Moon Nay Li - +66-085-625-1912



Press Release
Feb. 12, 2012

Members of All Ethnic Democracy and Human Rights Network and other activists

We are a group of ethnic people from Myanmar and a collection of other human rights activists. Today, we are holding a pro-democracy and ethnic freedom rights demonstration in front of the Myanmar Embassy. This is in commemoration of Union Day, which started in Panglong Town, Shan State, Myanmar on February 12, 1947.

The “Union Day” is the birthday of the Myanmar nation. On this day, 23 representatives from four territories, which comprise the Shan state, the Kachin hill, the Chin hill and mainland Burma, signed an agreement in Panglong to form the Union of Myanmar. To honor this historical agreement, Myanmar people celebrated the day as a “Union Day” across the nation on February 12th every year. This day is the most important day in modern Myanmar’s history.

These four territories are also representative of almost the entire territory of the current Myanmar region as drawn in the country’s map. Not only did the Panglong agreement pave the way for the formation of the Myanmar nation, it also enabled the country to gain independence from the British emperor.

A comedian Kimsatgat(C)

Significantly, the Panglong agreement guaranteed the people freedom in both the ethnic minority territories and mainland Burma, and included such things as equality and sharing together in the country’s prosperity. The core issue of the Panglong agreement was to setup “a federal system of government full autonomy in internal administration.”

However, the country’s successive rulers, Myanmar military governments, have never implemented the Panglong agreement and have not respected the “Union Day” since 1962, when the country fell under the military government’s rule completely. From that time, the military abolished the Panglong agreement and the “Union Day” has never been honored in its original spirit since then. Instead the military government wrongly represents “Union Day” and misleads the people from the real essence of its goal.

Mr. Sungon Oh(L) and Korean friends

In recent years, the military government deliberately drafted constitution in order to keep military control over the country, which is against the principle of the Panglong agreement, such as a 25% limit on seats for the military in parliament. Several ethnic groups requested that the draft constitution be a genuine one ahead of its creation. However, the military government flatly rejected this proposal.

Furthermore, Myanmar’s military government held an election without free and fair in the absence of international observers, which military took most of the seats as they projected. It is clear that the Myanmar military’s attitude has been shown to be deceitful with regards to its country’s people and before the international community.

Therefore, we, the All Ethnic Democracy and Human Rights Network, demand that the Myanmar military junta:

1. Stop the military rule and do not put their supremacy over civilian. 2. Restore and bring back the Panglong agreement and build the country as a genuine democratic system. 3. Immediately cease its human rights violations and religious repression. 4. Immediately relieve the people from political and economic repression.

Furthermore, we ask that the Korean people and the international community show staunch support for the cause of democracy and the end of ethnic repression in Burma.


Cancel KGS International Airport at Aranmula: Need to Establish the Rights of Gram Sabha in Development Planning

KGS International Greenfield Airport

New Delhi, Feb. 9: Kerala, a state with a coast length of 590 Kms and width between 11 to 121 Kms, which already has three international airports (Thiruvananthpuram, Kozhikode, Cochin) and plans to build two more at Kanoor and Aranmula points towards something extremely wrong with the development planning. All doesn't seem well within the State, known for its participatory development planning model as being touted through various studies.

The Chennai-based KGS Group, promoter of the proposed KGS International Greenfield Airport at Aranmula got the clearance after Kerala Industries department declared 500 acres of land spread across the Mallappuzhasserry, Aranmula and Kidangannur villages as industrial area. The clearance was granted invoking the provisions in the Kerala Industrial Single Window Clearance Boards and Industrial Township Area Development Act 1999. The Act passed in 1999, usurps the powers of the local self-government institutions and is aimed at bypassing the otherwise mandatory clearances required for various projects from the panchayats, municipalities, Town Planning Department and Development Authorities in the land notified as industrial area. As per section -18 of the Act, those places notified as industrial area would not only remain outside the purview of the master plan or zonal plan but also remain excluded from any legislation passed by the State Assembly. This is completely unacceptable.

The Coca Cola factory at Plachimada had managed to get clearance by utilising the single window clearance system of the same Act. It is unfortunate that the government has failed to take any lesson from the decade long struggle of the Plachimada Coca-Cola Virudha Samara Samithi against the Coca Cola factory. Even though the Kerala Assembly passed with consensus the 'Plachimada Coca-Cola Victims’ Relief and Compensation Claims Special Tribunal Bill, 2011, it has had no impact on the development planning and need for establishing the rights of the Gram Sabha.

The proposed airport on the model of 'Aerotropolis' is completely unnecessary since Kerala already has enough Airports. Records available with the State Planning Board show that Kerala lost over 5,00,000 hectares of paddy fields between 1980 and 2007 but has failed to add more land under cultivation.

NAPM demands that Government should take a strong resolve not to permit any more conversion of paddy field or wetland in the larger interests of ensuring the very existence of the land of Kerala. The wanton conversion of wetlands and paddy fields taking place in the name of ‘development’ at Aranmula for the ‘Private Aranmula Greenfield International Airport’ should be brought to a halt and Government should take over all illegally converted land for agriculture purposes and cancel the project immediately.

NAPM stands with the people of Aranmula and supports the struggle against proposed Airport. We also urge that the laws like Kerala Industrial Single Window Clearance Boards and Industrial Township Area Development Act 1999 be repealed since they usurp the constitutionally granted rights of Gram Sabha. Gram Sabhas have the sole right to plan development in their area as per the 73rd and 74th Amendments of the Constitution and Kerala government must respect it.

Medha Patkar, Gabriele Dietrich, Prafulla Samantara, Sandeep Pandey, Goe Josh, Hussain master, George Jacob, Madhuresh Kumar


Supreme Court Issues Notice to Government of India and State of MP in case of Unethical and Illegal Drug Trials

Special Report
By Amulya Nidhi
Feb. 6, 2012

Unethical and Illegal Drug

New Delhi: Supreme Court today admitted a PIL filed by Swasthya Adhikar Manch about illegal and unethical clinical trials conducted on adults, children and even mentally ill patients in the country. A notice was issued to respondents, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), The Drug Controller General of India (DCGI), Medical Council of India (MCI) and State of Madhya Pradesh by the bench of Justice R. M, Lodha and Justice H. L. Gokhale. The advocate for the petitioner is Pukhram Ramesh Kumar and the case was argued by Advocate Sanjay Parekh today.

Today Multi-National drug companies are very powerful and are making profits. After the Patent amendment came, pursuant to WTO, amendments were also made in the Drug and Cosmetic Rules in 1995 in our Country permitting multi-centric trials, including of Phase-I trial, which is the first trial of the new drug on human beings. For the purpose of clinical trials, these drug companies hire Contract Research Organizations (CRO), (more than 100 CROs exists in our country), who claim that they will be able to get the clinical trial done at a low cost and quickly. The trials are conducted in the countries which are vulnerable because of poverty and other reasons. In conducting these trials, the doctors, with the sole aim of making money grossly compromise with ethical medical practices which lead to trial subject to face either death or serious side effects. The PIL has also taken the reference of EOW (Economic Offence Wing) report where many irregularities has been found during investigation of drug trials conducted in the M.G.M. Medical College Indore. It has been highlighted in the PIL that the irregularities like, principal investigator being a member of ethical committee, violation of the ethical guidelines by principal investigator, inactive role played by ethical committees, compensation to patients for adverse effects not being paid etc. is a serious violation of laws and medical profession ethics and also a violation Article 32 of the constitution.

Swasthya Adhikar Manch hence through petition has requested the court for Direct Investigation into the cases of adverse effects of drug trials including deaths and submission of the report to the Honorable Court, examine the present legal set up and guidelines concerning the clinical trials, direct the Govt. of Madhya Pradesh to act on report of EOW, grant of compensation and other reliefs including medical treatment to trial patients adversely affected.

The petitioner seeks the regulations been imposed on the said Contract Research Organizations (C.R.O.) companies that are operating in unregulated and uncontrolled fashion. Specially so since it is not mandatory that these companies be registered. The petition asserts the CROs being operated in absence of any controlled even from Independent Ethics committee.

The petitioners asked for an extensive investigation into the matter of drug trials which has accounted for a total of 1727 deaths from year 2007 to 2010 as accepted in Rajya Sabha by Honorable Health Minister Gulam Nabi Azad. The petition calls the attention of the judiciary to innumerable drug trials conducted all over the nation which roughly amounts to about 4066 clinical drug trial experiments. 3138 of the trials were conducted in the year 2006-2009, 806 trials conducted from Jan 2010 to December 2010 and 928 drug trials are conducted in the year Feb 2011 (The data has been taken from the statement made by Mr. Gulam Nabi Azad in Rajya Sabha and from RTI replies received by the petitioner). In Andhra Pradesh about 25,000 women have been subjected to such drug trials.

The Advocate for the petitioner Mr. Sanjay Parekh pleaded the matter of unethical drug trial to be of grave concern to entire nation with prevailing ambiguity of the rules and regulations governing such trials, consequently giving enough space for these companies to engage into their unethical and illegal intentions. The petitioners pleaded the Supreme Court to issue orders to the respective departments for reviewing the existing rules of governing such drug trials and bringing in the desired amendments. It was also pleaded that the systematic investigation be ordered in the all incidences of drug trial suffering from such irregularities. Taking cognizance of the matter, the apex court has issued notices to respective departments and organizations to submit their response.


Condemn the attack: Impact of Nuclear Reactors on Marine Life

Special Report
By Thomas Kocherry
Feb. 3, 2012

We condemn the attack on Pushparayan, Yesudasan and th women at theTirunnelvely Collectorate on 31st January 2012. If this is the way the Collector is conducting the discussion for the sake of the Prime Minister to allay the fears of the people in and around Koodankulam, what is the future of the lives of the people who are protesting against Koodankullam Nuclear Plant? These goondas are some of the supporters of the political parties who are supporting the Kodankulam Nucllear Plant. Like the Nuclear Plant the supporters are also dangerous to the peace loving people of this country. Prime Minister, Narayanswamy and BJP should answer the violence of these your supporters. If we cannot even protest against a Dangerous Technology in a non violent way, what else can we do in India? We the fisher people in Ramnad District are protesting against Koodankulam Nuclear plant from 2nd Feb to 7th Feb by a Boat Rally and Vehicle Rally. We are against Koodankulam Nuclear Plant because of the following reason:

Fifty nine out of 103 nuclear plants in the US rely on what are known as ‘once through cooling systems’ to remove waste heat. Nuclear plant authorities have always claimed that their intake and discharge of billions of litres of water a day did very little harm to the surrounding marine life.

Some years ag, a major report, LICENCED TO KILL: HOW THE NUCLEAR POWER INDUSTRY DESTROY ENDANGERED MARINE WILD LIFE AND OCEAN HABITAT TO SAVE MONEY , released by the well respected Nuclear Information and Resource Service on February 22, 2001.” These cooling systems suck in and discharge as much as four million litres of water per minute. This water is sucked in at such a high velocity that along with the water, marine life is also sucked in , it is unable to resist velocity. These are dumped back as dead. The that the nuclear se high destruction rates can over take recovery rates, resulting in extensive depletion of the affected species. In this way, entire marine life communities can lose their capacity to sustain themselves.”

“ While millions of litres of hot water being discharged into the sea every minute, the total heat dumped into the waterway every minute, the total heat dumped into waterway is tremendous. Roger Withersperspoon, the well known US journalist, author and editor, in a recent article has given some figures. Citing company records, he points out that the nuclear power plants, at Salem, New Jersey, USA, dump about 30 billion BTUs of heat hourly into Delaware Bay. That is equivalent of the heat which would be generated by exploding a nuclear bomb, the size of the bomb which destroyed Hiroshima, in the waters of Delaware Bay every two hours, all day, every day.” Roger Witherspoon, ‘Ravishing the waterways, DEP vs the power Plants’ Dec 13, 2010.,


Boat Rally against Koodankulam Nuclear Plant

Special Report
By Paulsamy
Jan. 30, 2012

Koodankulam Nuclear Plant

We the fisher people in Ramnad do not want Koodankulam Nuclear Plant because of the following reasons:

1962 Atomic Energy Act is to keep Nuclear Energy production under confidentiality. Why do you keep this confidential when other Electrical Energies are not confidential. Atomic energy comes under defense. The expenses are not audited and made it public. In spite all these years of production of nuclear energy the total amount comes only 3000 MW. Will anybody show the expenses of all the investments of Atomic Infrastructure in India?

Nobody in the world has found out any technology to dispose of Nuclear waste. The nuclear waste is sealed in steel containers and buried under ground or in the sea. The emission of radiation remains in the waste for thousands of years. Fifty nine out of 103 nuclear plants in the US rely on what are known as ‘once through cooling systems’ to remove waste heat. Nuclear plant authorities have always claimed that their intake and discharge of billions of litres of water a day did very little harm to the surrounding marine life.

Some years ag, a major report, LICENCED TO KILL: HOW THE NUCLEAR POWER INDUSTRY DESTROY ENDANGERED MARINE WILD LIFE AND OCEAN HABITAT TO SAVE MONEY , released by the well respected Nuclear Information and Resource Service on February 22, 2001.” These cooling systems suck in and discharge as much as four million litres of water per minute. This water is sucked in at such a high velocity that along with the water, marine life is also sucked in , it is unable to resist velocity. These are dumped back as dead. The that the nuclear se high destruction rates can over take recovery rates, resulting in extensive depletion of the affected species. In this way, entire marine life communities can lose their capacity to sustain themselves.”

“ While millions of litres of hot water being discharged into the sea every minute, the total heat dumped into the waterway every minute, the total heat dumped into waterway is tremendous. Roger Withersperspoon, the well known US journalist, author and editor, in a recent article has given some figures. Citing company records, he points out that the nuclear power plants, at Salem, New Jersey, USA, dump about 30 billion BTUs of heat hourly into Delaware Bay. That is equivalent of the heat which would be generated by exploding a nuclear bomb, the size of the bomb which destroyed Hiroshima, in the waters of Delaware Bay every two hours, all day, every day.” Roger Witherspoon, ‘Ravishing the waterways, DEP vs the power Plants’ Dec 13, 2010.,

The safety of the plant is not sure after Three Misle Island Disaster in the USA, Chernobyl Disaster in Russia, Fukushima Disaster in Japan. We cannot trust the GOI any more after seeng the way GOI has handled Bhopal Gas Tragedy. Alternatives to Nuclear Power in the 21st Century

In India the present production is 160000 MW. The total need of India is 400.000 MW.GOI expects 10% of this is from Nuclear Energy, by 2020. Even this will not be realised according to the present way of implementing Nuclear Reactors in India. Haripur is cancelled. Jaithapur is in trouble. Koodankulam is in trouble. Since 1962 after enacting Atomic Energy Act, 5000 MW has been the total production. In fact if GOI improves the transmission of the present production, and the use of electricity, bulbs, pumps, ACs etc we can save up to 30-40% through conservation technologies. This saving is more important than nuclear and thermal production.The cost of effience improvement is cheaper than putting up new nuclear and thermal plants.

Wind energy and Solar energy are the most safe energy today in the World. Bangalore is progressing with Solar Energy by producing 900 MW Electricity. Tamilnadu and Kerala are progressing with Wind energy. The major energy in Australia is Wind energy. Germany has installed the biggest Solar Energy plant in Vatican. if GOI invests money on infrastructure for Solar and Wind energy in the way GOI invested in Atomic Energy India can progress very fast in Wind energy and solar energy.America is the largest Wind Energy producer.Potential from Wind Energy in India is 100, 000 MW. THe potential from Solar Energy is 400,000 MW. There is no risk involved in this. But investment in research and infrastructure should be done.

Another Energy GOI can progress is in the line of Bio Gas Energy. If we make use of human excreta, animal excreta, and vegetable waste India can progress very fast not only in the production of energy but also does cleaning up of the whole environment. The potential is 100.000 MW.

Whatever Energy we produce it should not affect the environment either by pollution or by radiation. In the long run the quality of energy we produce are more important than the quantity, which will create climate change, the destruction of the World. The MNCs in the Nuclear Energy are very powerful and they are corrupt by giving commissions to the political parties and bureaucrats. If there are powerful peoples movements these corruptions can be stopped. This is the beginning of the production of alternative energy. RFU wants the following demands met:

Alot 1000 MW electricity to Tamilnadu from the Central Pool. Distribute CFL bulbs to every family in Tamilnadu free of charge. The traditional fishermen should have to right to fish in the Marine Protected Areas for their livelihood. Lift the ban on Sea cucumba.


Maharashtra Govt issues important GR related to mis-use of Ration card

Special Report
By Soheb Lokhandwala
Jan. 22, 2012

Indian poor people with their Ration cards at Ration shop

The Govt of Mah. has issued a GR on 16th Jan 2012 stating ration cards can no longer be used during this election as identity card nor ration card will be used as resident proof any longer(in ration card this has already being mentioned).Ration card to be used only to get ration from ration shop(FPS).

Justice Wadhwa which has already recommended in its report to Mah.State on functions of Public distribution system(PDS) that ‘ration card’ should not be used for any other purpose except for drawing ration commodities. It should be de-linked from all other schemes connected with BPL identification done for this purpose. It should not be used be used as proof of residence or as an identity proof for any other purpose. This should be strictly implemented.

The Wadhwa Committee was informed about the large number of Bogus cards. In Jalna some drive for weeding out bogus card was done. In Aurangabad 70% of BPL cards were stated to be bogus and in Parbhani Activists informed that they found1638 bogus cards. Bogus/ ghost card is a big menace in the PDS which needs to be tackled effectively to ensure food security for the needy and to stop large scale diversion in PDS. The Committee during the visit to the State observed that number of bogus / ghost cards in the State are in abundance. The Committee is of the view that an Amnesty Scheme may be adopted for giving sufficient time to the public for surrendering the unauthorized ration cards on their own clarifying that any disclosure / surrender during the Amnesty Scheme period will not entail any punishment / penalty. However, if any bogus / unauthorized ration card is found in the possession of anybody after the Amnesty period, strict action as per Essential Commodities Act will be taken not only against the unauthorized ration card holders but also against the concerned officers of the Department found involved. Steps should also be taken to scrutinize ration cards issued to all the government officials and ensure that none possess Saffron APL. Strict penalty must be imposed on such officials who do not surrender their Saffron APL.

The Jus.Wadhwa Committee has found that one of the reasons affecting the viability of FPS is the unequal distribution of the ration cards. The exercise of rationalization of ration cards attached to each FPS should be undertaken at the earliest to bring about uniformity in the distribution of ration cards to respective Fair price shops (FPSs).

Distribution of foodgrain to the beneficiaries was found to be in a dismal condition, particularly in the Marathwada region. Most beneficiaries did not possess rations cards. At one village about 150 ration cards were found at the FPS. There were several villages where none of the beneficiaries possessed rations cards. In the Vidarbh region, though the situation was better in terms of distribution to beneficiaries, but there were glaring discrepancies in the manner in which foodgrain was being allocated and lifted from the godowns.

In many districts the ration cards had been issued more than 10 years ago and are in extremely poor and unusable conditions. This gives the FPS dealer an excuse to avoid making entries in the card. At many places the Committee found that the ration cards of the beneficiaries had been deposited at the Tehsil office for renewal but had not been issued to the beneficiaries for months. The beneficiaries are left without cards for months together and cannot claim their PDS entitlement. The drive to issue fresh ration cards should be accelerated. Issuance of ration cards should be strictly within the prescribed period. In case of delay the applicant be informed delay along with the reason for the delay.

Kindly inform and share this GR widely for Public awareness.


NAPM Demands a Socially Responsive and Participatory Budget Growth With Justice and Equity

Jan. 17, 2012

Indian Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee

New Delhi: Finance Minister today held pre-Budget consultations with the representatives of the civil society. NAPM National Conveners Medha Patkar, Sandeep Pandey and National Organiser Madhuresh Kumar made the presentation to the consultation and were also joined by Swami Agnivesh, Bandhu Mukti Morcha. Alliance of Sustainable and Holistic Agriculture members also joined at the press conference and NAPM being a part of the Alliance made the submissions to the FM on behalf of ASHA as well.

Later they convened a press conference at Indian Womens Press Corps, where Prof. Arun Kumar, JNU and Shri Roshanlal Agarwal, thinker from Raipur, Chattisgarh too joined.

We are attaching the submission made to the Honourable Minister for your consideration. NAPM requested the Minister that apart from various suggestions on the budget allocations there is a need to address and look at the way Budget itself is formulated and make it more participatory by holding regional consultations with different stake holders and also make it more socially responsive. The Budget is related to the way planning is done in the country and so there is the need establish the bottom up planning as mandated by 73rd and 74th amendments.

We do hope that the new Budget will take in account our suggestions because the failing social indicators will have a bearing on the economic policies too. The writing is clear that the 'economic reforms' are not working for everyone and a tiny elite is largely benefiting from this. Social movements are watching the political situation and is going to monitor this Budget and not just react but respond to it through especially planned Jan sansad from March 19 – 23 during the Budget Session. A serious policy course correction is the need of the hour and we hope Finance Minister will not let the country down.

Medha Patkar, Sandeep Pandey, Swami Agnivesh, Prof. Arun Kumar, Roshan Lal Agarwal, Prafulla Samantara, Maj. Gen. (Retd) Sudhir Vombatkere, Anand Mazgaonkar, Suniti S R, Geetha Ramakrishnan, Dr. Sunilam, Gautam Bandopahyay, Rajendra Ravi, Bhupendera Singh Rawat, Madhuresh Kumar & Alliance for Sustainable and Holistic Agriculture (ASHA)


Preliminary Remarks by the ICFET International Election Observation Mission International Committee on Fair Elections in Taiwan

Jan. 15, 2012

International Election Observers in Taiwan

1. Introduction

We are twenty-one (21) observers from 8 countries who have been invited by the International Committee for Fair Elections in Taiwan (ICFET) to form anInternational Election Observation Mission (IEOM) for the January 2012 Presidential and Legislative elections in Taiwan. The group consisted of observers from Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Japan, Sweden, and the United States. We are from academia, elected representatives, religious groups, businesses, and civil society. As observers, we have tried to be strictly neutral in all our activities, records,and conclusions.

We would like to thank the organizers of our visit, the ICFET, for their invitation, organizing and sponsoring the delegation. We would like to encourage the ICFET to continue in their efforts and to support election observation activities in the future to strengthen Taiwan’s democracy, so that it can be shared with other countries in the region and around the world. As we conducted our observation, we greatly appreciated the willingness of candidates, party representatives,and government representatives to meet with us. They have demonstrated hospitality and replied to our questions with grace and dignity.

The IEOM took place from January 10-15, 2012. We visited locations in Taipei, Kaohsiung, Tainan, and Taichung. We met with campaign organizers, staff, and candidates from the three main political parties: Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), and People’s First Party (PFP). We also observed political rallies, street campaigns, and activities at several polling stations and the Central Election Commission counting center on Election Day (January 14, 2012).

2. Observations

The process leading up to the fifth direct presidential election by the Taiwanese citizens has proved that this country is a vibrant, democratic society featuring fundamental freedoms, comprehensive electoral procedures,and inspiring practices. We were also struck by the good spirit among the campaigns and their staff. This was an election where we observed a desire to perform well, and in which the different campaigns demonstrated respect.

As a young democracy, Taiwan continues its transition from an authoritarian past. All democracies have problems, and we became very conscious that exactly this autocratic past has become interlinked with pressures from an authoritarian China and Taiwan’s a very specific international environment. These circumstances frame an unfair political context.

Looking toward further reforms of Taiwan’s democracy in the next years, the following concerns seem to us being priorities, in two main categories:

Authoritarian Legacy
Foreign Interference
Authoritarian Legacy

Taiwan’s democracy suffers from several structural problems that are at least in part legacies from its authoritarian past. We have observed several issues that show that Taiwan’s democracy continues to be in a transitional phase.

Vote Buying

From the many reports in the media, vote buying continues to be a major problem. The measures taken by the government and the political parties still appear to be insufficient and ineffective. From our discussions, many reports in the media and interaction with party organisers, we conclude that vote buying continues to be a major problem.

Administrative power

There has been misuse of government power and therefore we see a need for structural reforms including judiciary reforms.

Campaign Funds

Due to the legacy of the authoritarian past, there is a huge imbalance in party wealth and resources. We conclude from many discussions that there is a very little concern expressed about the issue of controlling campaign expenditures. This creates an atmosphere where the election rules are routinely disrespected, undermining the rule of law. The fairness of the election is therefore weakened in a context where resources amongst the parties are so unequal. The huge imbalance incapacity for parties to purchase advertising is reflected in the media. This is an important area for reform.

Foreign Interference

Cross-strait relations in the context of an economically and politically rising China weighs heavily on the election process in Taiwan. It puts tremendous pressures on Taiwan’s democracy and the freedom and fairness of the choices that its voters must make.

In addition, concerns were also raised about influences from the USA most notably in comments made by former AIT director few days before the election. The leader of our mission, Senator Frank Murkowski, made a public statement to refute the claims by the former director as inappropriate and not reflective of US government policies.


We call for international support for Taiwan's democracy.


Head of International Election Observation Mission: Expresses Concern at Remarks by Former US Official

Jan. 13, 2012

Douglas Paal

In an interview with a Taiwanese television station on January 12, Douglas Paal, a former Taipei director of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), made several comments about Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) candidate Tsai Ing-wen’s policies towards China, including describing her “Taiwan consensus” proposal as impractical.

In a press conference today, former US Senator and former Governor of Alaska Frank Murkowski, currently in Taiwan as head of the election observation delegation organized by the International Committee for Free Elections in Taiwan (ICFET), stated that the remarks made by Paal were “inappropriate to say the least.” Senator Murkowski also telephoned current AIT Taipei Director William Stanton to convey his personal concern. At the press conference, he said, “I challenge the credibility of Mr. Paal to speak for me or my government, or for the vast majority of Americans.”

Accompanied by ICFET Chairman Peng Ming-Min and Vice Chairman Wu Li-Pei, Senator Murkowski criticized Paal for coming to Taiwan at the invitation of a KMT-affiliated institute to “observe” the elections and making such comments. He particularly said Paal’s assertion that the opinion leaked to the Financial Times last fall was the “private feeling of senior administration officials generally” is “inappropriate editorializing to say the least.” Senator Murkowski noted that Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell had already clearly denied the Financial Times report.

Senator Murkowski said that, this morning when he read the reports in the Taipei Times and China Post about Paal’s remarks, he was concerned that this would be misinterpreted as reflecting US policy. He stated, “I take strong issue any inference that US policy towards Taiwan favors any candidate or party over the others. AIT Director Stanton, with whom I talked today, has made the AIT’s position clear that the US remains strictly neutral.”

Senator Murkowski concluded, “I speak today solely as a private US citizen, but based on my experience off 22 years in the US Senate and as former Governor of Alaska, I challenge the credibility of Mr. Paal to speak for me or my government, or for the vast majority of Americans who have great admiration for the progress Taiwan has made in advancing its democracy. This election is about the people of Taiwan making a choice of parties or candidates free of any undue influence. It is about the choice between change and the status quo. That is a choice for the people of Taiwan. Whatever they decide, we wish them well.”

ICFET was initiated by former Presidential Advisor Dr. Peng Ming-Min, and members of the Committee include current and former MPs from Canada, the European Union, Japan, and the US, as well as scholars and experts from around the world. ICFET organized a 24-member international observation mission to come to Taiwan for these elections, led by Senator Murkowski. The mission visited campaign headquarters and observed campaign activities from all three major parties in northern, central, and southern Taiwan.

On Sunday, January 15, at 10:45 am, the mission will hold a press conference at the Howard Plaza Hotel to announce its preliminary findings.


KG Basin and Polavaram needs a thorugh review untill then put a Moratorium

Special Report
By Medha Patkar

Members of Lokshakti Abhiyan

Threat to KG Basin due to indiscriminate extraction of Oil-Gas can’t be ignored Declare review with moratorium : release Expert Committee Report Polavaram conflict needs dialogue and a win-win situation, considering all alternatives.

Bhadrachalam, Jan. 11: Lokshakti Abhiyan reached early morning at Bhadrachalam and attended the meeting hosted by Agricultural Social Development Society and joined by Human Rights Forum and other organisations from Bhadrachalam. Bhadrachalam comes in the submergence zone of the Polavaram Dam which will displace close to 2,00, 000 people – predominantly Adivasis, from close to 400 villages, of which 276 villages are in AP.

While they are being lulled into submission with great promises of R and R policies, the people of the Delta are being told that this project is absolutely necessary for their survival nay continuing prosperity as it would “stabilize the delta region” and ensure water for a third crop. Is this project really meant for the farmers of the Delta region as is being projected? Or is it meant for the Bauxite mining companies that are coming up in the Eastern ghats? Or is it going to benefit the large scale industrial projects coming up under the Coastal Corridor, which are displacing millions of farmers of this region for whom this project has been meant for (on paper)?

National Alliance of People’s Movements, through its campaign for People’s Empowerment, wish to deal with the problem of extraction of Oil & Gas to other Minerals, such as Laterite, that affect the land and water, agriculture in K-G Basin region, East & West Godavari and Krishna Districts on one hand and the issue of right kind of sustainable and just options in Water Management, in the context of Polavaram controversy on the other.

K G Basin Saga

It was in K-G Basin that Lokshakti Abhiyan team on its second day witnessed how the incidence of land subsidence has resulted in sea water gushing in, converting paddy fields into Prawn-culture ponds. It has led to sea water flowing inward instead of natural flow of river, canal water flowing through rivulets & tributaries flowing into the sea. It's shocking to know that reckless extraction, based on non - transparent, indiscriminate contracts & agreements to projects planned with the corporates like Reliance or Cairn Energy to public sector giants like ONGC. While we believe privatization and profiteering in Oil & Gas and Energy sector has, no doubt, emptied the State Exchequer and resulted in K-G Basin scam [as exposed in CAG Report dated Sept. 2011], its also bringing in enormous and serious environment impacts, which needs to be taken cognizance of. The Committee-appointed, inducing the Public Interest litigation in the Bombay High Court has brought out a report, yet to be made public.

Moreover, it,s on the ground that destruction of paddy, reduction in the agricultural to horticultural [coconut] yields are identified. We demand an immediate moratorium on the extraction in the already affected area, to prevent further compression of rock, sea water ingress, as well as salinization of potable drinking water, affecting livelihood of 1 Crore 30 lakh population. This, one would like to assert, would turn-over the energy-intensive, paradigm, but not be impractical since our energy and especially fuel targets are already exaggerated and transmission-distribution losses to public transport issues can and should be taken care of to save life and nature.

Polavaram Controversy : the Way Ahead

On Polavaram, the experience of large dams, across the World and across the Country, warns us against considering the Project to be safe and just, inspite of large scale displacement of Adivasis and farmers, and huge expenses & cost to the natural eco - systems. Not less than 300 village communities to be evicted are bound to cause Human rights violations to legal barriers as seen in all river-valley projects from Narmada to Brahmaputra, displacements that too of Adivasis living on natural resources cannot be compensated with cash based solutions, and the rights of the Gram Sabhas, in the scheduled and non-scheduled Adivasi areas as well as farmer populations, can’t be ignored or suppressed.

The Inter-State issues with Chattisgarh and Odisha are other critical areas needing resolutions without which pushing the Projects ahead may lead to waste of time and money. Alternatives proposed in terms of five Lift Irrigation schemes already planned to benefit 5-lakh acres of land in the Polavaram command (out of 7-Lakh acres), and diversion of water from upstream reservoirs as well as local water harnessing with tributaries are worth considering. The Central Empowered Committee of MoEF and Ministry of Irrigation should have carried-out a conclusive dialogue with the affected people, but not ignoring those in the beneficiary area – K-G Basin –with a strong and sincere demand for Polavaram.

The rift between the two is obvious and serious enough not to be ignored. NAPM, therefore, with its vast experience of dam conflicts, people’s struggle on social, environmental to economic and governance issues related to Dam, could initiate a special & frank dialogue among the two regions – Communities to Farmers, Fishermen, Adivasis and Dalit Organisations.

It will also take-up the issue to the Central Ministerial level, once again for them to follow up on all issues of conflict and avoid non - compensatable, irreparable, unjustifiable losses to Adivasis, farmers and farms to forest, while ensuing that the water requirements of their counterparts in K-G basin are also fulfilled. With much experience in Water Management across the country till date, it is not impossible to have a win-win solutions. If there is a political, but also social will among people and their organisations in AP and all-over India, there is a way.

Lokshakti Abhiyan will today move on to Multai, Madhya Pradesh to attend Jan Sansad (People's Parliament) hosted by Kisan Sangharsh Samiti where 24 farmers were killed on January 12, 1998. It will then hold a public meeting in Indore with the farmers there and then last programme of this phase of the Abhiyan in Ganj Basoda in Madhya Pradesh.

Medha Patkar, Ramakrishna Raju, Sarasvathy Kavula, Baburao Kapala, Baljeet Singh, Prasad Bagwe, Roshanlal Agarwal, Gandhi Babu, Madhuresh Kumar
For details call : 9866887299 / 9849718364 / 9818905316


A documentation film of KAREN PRIDE AND UNITY can watch at Youtube

Jan. 7, 2012

Future ethnic troop leader General Nerdah Mya(L)

Please watch the following ten minute video, Karen Pride and Unity, from Scorpion Film Productions. It shows a side of Burma, the military dictatorship’s civil war and crimes against humanity against the country’ ethnic minorities, which the International Community, foreign media, international businesspeople, and the National League for Democracy, would prefer to ignore. Warning: The images in the latter part of the documentary are disturbing.

At the video, a special interviewed with General Nerdah Mya, the son of the founder of KNU and NDF General Saw Bo Mya. The video described a kind of realistic view that the genuine ethnic fighters seem no way to follows that the old old method of Burma military government’s ceasefire tactic.

General Mya strongly condemned that Myanmar Government troops destroyed the villagers and oppress ethnic minorities, for that, KNU had to rebuild villages and rescued the villagers, he said. Moreover, Government troops destroyed schools, churches and houses.

And General Mya clearly determined by saying he will bring back national pride to civilians. So, he is going to bring their hope and self esteemed back, said General Mya. Just for protection, they have to stay in refugee camps at the moment; indeed, they are belonged to the country, Burma, which belonged to several ethnics’ people called a home.

It can be seen later sometimes, he and his comrades went to the church for worship. The movie displayed a background with an ethnic Karen Christian music at the end of the film, it was so toughing. Finally, General Mya called all Karen people to be responsible for their freedom.

It is encouragable documentary report but, he did not mention KNU’s position and stand for all ethnic level movement.

You can watch the movie at this link:

>> Jul- Dec, 2011

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