< /head > Colorado Coalition for Human Rights: October 2005

Friday, October 28, 2005

UN Population Fund and President Bush

Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times wrote a very good column titled, "Mr. Bush, This is Pro-Life?" Traveling in Niger, Kristof argues that the Bush administration's recent action of withholding funds from the UN Population fund hurts many all over the world as he writes:

Mr. Bush and other conservatives have blocked funds for the U.N. Population Fund because they're concerned about its involvement in China. They're right to be appalled by forced sterilizations and abortions in China, and they have the best of intentions. But they're wrong to blame the Population Fund, which has been pushing China to ease the coercion - and in any case the solution isn't to let African women die. (Two American women have started a wonderful grass-roots organization that seeks to make up for the Bush cuts with private donations; its website is www.34millionfriends.org.)

The website www.34millionfriends.org is definitely worth checking out.

--Tom Hayes (this article sent courtesy of JB)

Georgia Voter ID law Overturned

From the Washington Post:

In a case that some have called a showdown over voting rights, a U.S. appeals court yesterday upheld an injunction barring the state of Georgia from enforcing a law requiring citizens to get government-issued photo identification in order to vote.
The ruling allows thousands of Georgians who do not have government-issued identification, such as driver's licenses and passports, to vote in the Nov. 8 municipal elections without obtaining a special digital identification card, which costs $20 for five years. In prior elections, Georgians could use any one of 17 types of identification that show the person's name and address, including a driver's license, utility bill, bank statement or a paycheck, to gain access to a voting booth.

The full article can be found by clicking here.

--Tom Hayes

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Some Articles on Blogging

There have been a few interesting articles about blogging and its effects recently. Click here to read a story from the Rocky Mountain News, and here to read one from the Christian Science Monitor.

--Tom Hayes

"Dirty Bomber" suspect appeals to Supreme Court

From the Washington Post:

"Dirty bomb" suspect Jose Padilla has asked the Supreme Court to limit the government's power to hold him and other U.S. terror suspects indefinitely and without charges.
The case of Padilla, who has been in custody more than three years, presents a major test of the Bush administration's wartime authority. The former gang member is accused of plotting to detonate a radioactive device.

It will be interesting to see how the Court rules in this case, as I have already written about John Roberts decisions in terror cases as an appeals court judge, and with Harriet Miers withdrawing her nomination, the next Supreme Court appointment will be extremely important in this case and others. Sandra Day O'Connor has said she will remain on the bench until a successor is named, but how long this takes could have a huge impact on issues currently facing the Court, with the Padilla case a prime example.

--Tom Hayes

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Official Results Show Iraqis adopt Draft Constitution

Click here to read the article from the Washington Post.
Also, check out the results in the table to the right, courtesy of the New York Times.

--Tom Hayes

Civil Rights Icon Rosa Parks dies at 92

Click here to read more.

--Tom Hayes

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Brazilian Voters Reject Gun Ban

Click here to read the article from the Washington Post.

--Tom Hayes

Friday, October 21, 2005

5 Nurses in Libya

Trudy Rubin, a columnist for the Philadelphia Enquirer writes about a 5 nurses sentenced to death in Libya, who Rubin argues are not guilty. Rubin writes:

Have you ever read a news story so bizarre you had to blink your eyes to believe it?Such is the story of five Bulgarian nurses (and one Palestinian doctor) who are under a death sentence in a Libyan jail, accused of deliberately infecting hundreds of Libyan children with the AIDS virus. Libya's Supreme Court is set to hear their final appeal on Nov. 15; they could face a firing squad if the appeal is rejected. They have already spent seven years in prison...The nurses are clearly not guilty. They traveled to Libya in the 1990s to find work at a time when the Bulgarian economy was in tatters. In 1999, an AIDS epidemic infected around 420 Libyan children, and the Libyans conveniently arrested the foreign medical workers. The women were tortured in an effort to extract confessions.

Click here to read the full opinion piece.

--Tom Hayes

U.S. Falls in World Press Freedom Ranking

From the Washington Post, the U.S. ranking has fallen in the world press freedom ranking. Many European countries remain at the top of the list, while North Korea is dead last. Click here to read the full article.

--Tom Hayes

Brazil to hold Nationwide Referendum on Gun Ban

As reported in the New York Times:

With about 180 million people living here, nearly 40,000 were killed by firearms in 2003. That is almost four times the number in the United States, whose population is larger by more than 100 million people. Brazil's cities are growing more violent and dangerous, crime is rising and gangs often have more firepower than the police now. But a government plan for a complete nationwide ban on guns has generated an impassioned civic debate of a kind rarely seen here.
On Oct. 23, Latin America's biggest country will vote in a referendum that asks a single direct question, "Should the commerce of arms and ammunition be prohibited in Brazil?" While other countries have banned guns, supporters of both the yes and no positions here say that this is the first time anywhere in the world that the electorate is being called on to decide the issue.
The vote, in which participation is obligatory (shirkers will be fined), is meant to ratify a highly restrictive gun control law that went into effect at the end of 2003, which has made it extremely difficult for ordinary citizens to legally buy, sell or own guns and ammunition. That legislation's phased application called for this referendum to decide on an all-but-total limit.

Click here to read the full article.

--Tom Hayes

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Free the Children

Check out this organization called Free the Children, a group founded by international child rights activist Craig Kielburger. The organization is run by children and has over 1 million members. For those that feel their voice doesn't count or that what you do doesn't make any difference, consider that Craig was 12 when he founded this organization, which has since grown to help millions of children all over the world.

--Tom Hayes

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Chilean Court Strips Pinochet of Immunity

From the Washington Post:

Chile's Supreme Court on Wednesday stripped former dictator Gen. Augusto Pinochet of immunity from prosecution for corruption charges related to his multimillion dollar bank accounts overseas. Pinochet, 89, has been stripped of his presidential immunity at least four times before, but always in cases stemming from human rights abuses during his 1973-90 dictatorship. This time, the court decided that Pinochet can be tried on charges related to his bank accounts in the United States.

Click here to read the entire article.

--Tom Hayes

More Violence in Darfur

From the front page of Tuesdays New York Times, an article about the growing chaos in the Darfur region of Sudan, click here to read the article.

--Tom Hayes

Monitors in Iraq Review Unusually High "Yes" Vote

An article in the New York Times reports that there have been irregularities in the voting for Iraq's new Constitution. The article begins:
Iraqi election officials said Monday that they were investigating "unusually high" vote totals in 12 Shiite and Kurdish provinces, where as many as 99 percent of the voters were reported to have cast ballots in favor of Iraq's new constitution. The investigation raised the possibility that the results of the referendum could be called into question.

Apparently it may take up to three days or more to figure out why there are such high "yes" vote percentages, but this could unfortunately lead more Iraqis to question the legitimacy of the Constitution. Click here to read the article. Also check out this Op-Ed arguing that the adoption of the Constitution in Iraq is only a recipe for disaster. I am not sure if I buy the argument, but its worth considering.

--Tom Hayes

Trial of Saddam Hussein Begins

Click here to read the article.

--Tom Hayes

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Iraq Passes Constitution, but Questions for the Future Remain

Voters in Iraq appear to have voted to pass the new Constitution, but Sunni Arab's are reported to have voted against the document in wide margins. The Washington Post has a good analysis which can be found here.

--Tom Hayes

Most Frequently Challenged Books

I thought this was interesting, The American Library Association lists the 100 most frequently challenged books from 1990-2000. The ALA also has a section on banned and challenged books.

--Tom Hayes

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Israeli Supreme Court bans the use of Palestinians as human shields

This is a couple of days old, but interesting nonetheless. The Israeli Supreme Court has banned the use of Palestinian human shields in arrest raids, arguing that the practice violates international law. Click here to read the article sent courtesy of JB.

--Tom Hayes

Pakistan Earthquake

The death toll and amount of people in need of aid is rising, with time running out according to the United Nations, as the Washington Post reports, "The quake death toll was more than 35,000, and tens of thousands were injured. India has reported more than 1,350 deaths in the part of disputed Kashmir that it controls."
I think I saw a number that said the number of homeless is over 1 million. Click here to read the article.

--Tom Hayes

Blair Proposes New Anti-Terrorism Legislation

From the Washington Post, an interesting article about new terrorism legislation in Britain, click here to read the article.

--Tom Hayes

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Shiites and Kurds Reach Out to Sunni's

From the Washington Post, a new development with the Iraqi constitution:

Iraq's top Shiite and Kurdish leaders publicly agreed Wednesday to what they said were Sunni Arab demands for the new constitution, and called upon the country's disaffected Sunni Arab majority to support the newly revised draft charter.

This might be too late to bring the Sunni's into accepting the Constitution, but we'll see as the Iraqis will vote on the Constitution soon. Click here to read the article.

--Tom Hayes

Monday, October 10, 2005

Darfur Rebels Abduct African Union Team

Reported by the Washington Post, click here to read about more voilence in Sudan.

--Tom Hayes

Police Impunity in Nigeria

From the Washington Post, an good article about recent efforts to break through police impunity. According to the article:
Nigeria has a history of brutal military and police behavior, ethnic divisions and economic inequality. In the six years since democracy replaced military rule, President Olusegun Obasanjo has sought to tackle corruption, liberalize the economy and elevate Nigeria's international profile. But in that time, both violent crime and police abuses have worsened, Nigerians say. The size of the police force has more than doubled, but training remains poor and investigative tools such as fingerprinting and autopsies are uncommon. Even critics acknowledge that brutal police tactics are accepted, perhaps even expected, by Nigerians frightened of rising crime.

--Tom Hayes

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Senate Votes to Define and Limit Interrogation Techniques

The Senate has just voted to attach to a military spending bill language that defines and limits interrogation techniques. The measure was passed by a vote of 90-9 despite pressure from the White House and President Bush's threat to veto the bill. According to the article:

Senate GOP leaders had managed to fend off the detainee language this summer, saying Congress should not constrain the executive branch's options. But last night, 89 senators sided with Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), a former prisoner of war in Vietnam who led the fight for the interrogation restrictions. McCain said military officers have implored Congress for guidelines, adding that he mourns "what we lose when by official policy or by official negligence we allow, confuse or encourage our soldiers to forget . . . that which is our greatest strength: that we are different and better than our enemies."

If you want to read McCain's speech, which summarizes the language of the amendment click here.

For those interested in Senators voting against the amendment here is a list, interesting that Colorado's own Wayne Allard decided to vote against it:

Allard (R-CO) Bond (R-MO) Coburn (R-OK)
Cochran (R-MS) Cornyn (R-TX) Inhofe (R-OK)
Roberts (R-KS) Sessions (R-AL) Stevens (R-AK)

--Tom Hayes

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

200 Victims of Srebrenica Massacre Discovered

From the Washington Post:

Forensic experts have recovered the remains of 213 victims of Europe's worst massacre since World War II, an official said Tuesday. In 1995, Serb troops overran the eastern Bosnian enclave of Srebrenica, which had been declared a safe zone by the United Nations, and killed as many as 8,000 Muslim men and boys. The bodies found Tuesday were originally buried elsewhere but later dug up by bulldozer and moved to Liplje to cover up the massacre, Hurtic said. About 1,000 victims were found in four other mass graves previously discovered in Liplje, Hurtic said.

Click here to read the full article.

--Tom Hayes

Changes to Iraqi Constitution Voting Rules

According to the Washington Post, recent changes have been passed by Iraqi leaders making it harder for Sunni Arabs to defeat the proposed Iraqi Constitution. Click here to read the article. The article explains:

Election rules hold that the constitution will be defeated if two-thirds of voters in any three of Iraq's 18 provinces vote against it _ even if it wins majority approval nationwide. Sunni Arabs have a sufficient majority in four provinces.
But on Sunday, parliament passed a new interpretation of the rules declaring that two-thirds of registered voters must vote "no" _ not two-thirds of those who actually vote. The interpretation raises the bar to a level almost impossible to meet. In a province of 1 million registered voters, for example, 660,000 would have to vote "no" _ even if that many didn't even come to the polls.

I would be interested to know what others think about the rule changes and the Constitution itself. Also, many pundits have asserted that once the Constitution passes the U.S. will withdraw most of its troops. I am not sure if Iraq is ready for a U.S. withdrawel, but I would be interested in other thoughts.

--Tom Hayes

Update 10/05/05

The Iraqi Parliament has overturned its previous rule change after international and internal pressures, click here to read more.

--Tom Hayes

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Torture in Turkey

From the New York Times, a human rights group called Mental Disability Rights International reports widespread abuses and torture in psychiatric hospitals. Click here to read the full article.

--Tom Hayes

Violence in Sudan

According to a recent article from the Washington Post, the African Union has accused Sudan of aiding violence against civilians in the Darfur region, click here to read the article. For more information on Darfur click here.

--Tom Hayes


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