The United Nations has expressed deep concern over attacks on different journalists and other intellectuals in Bangladesh in recent times.
“…it’s a matter of tremendous concern that different journalists and other intellectuals have been attacked,” said Farhan Haq, deputy spokesman for the UN Secretary-General, at a regular briefing at the UN headquarters on Monday.
He said the UN has been calling for the respect of basic rights in Bangladesh, including the rights of people to freedom of expression.
Farhan Haq, however, said he does not have any high-level travel to Bangladesh to announce at this stage. “…but you’re aware of our concerns.”
Blogger Washiqur Rahman was hacked to death in Tejgaon Industrial area of Dhaka on Monday morning.
Avijit Roy, a Bangladeshi American online activist, writer, blogger known for pioneering Bengali freethinkers’ weblog-forum, Mukto Mona, was killed and his wife, blogger Rafida Ahmed Bonya, severely injured when unidentified miscreants hacked them at TSC of Dhaka University.
Posts Tagged ‘Human Rights’
Same as Nazis Says Islamic ‘Human Rights’ Group.
This came up on Facebook,
We turn to the link on 5Pillarz and find, indeed this is the case:
There are also no prizes for guessing the winner of the “International” category.
The French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo which was the target of a murderous attack in January won the prize here for its continual stoking of Islamophobic sentiment by caricaturing Muslims as terrorists and ridiculing their beliefs.
Charlie Hebdo’s repeated mocking of Muslims is part of a culture of hate that is intended to marginalise, further alienate and further endanger a community that has effectively been “otherised” in much the same way that Jews were in Nazi Germany.
Apparently this is all part of a jolly jape
subverting the stereotype of Muslims as angry and fun-hating religious fanatics.
It is not known whether the victims of the Hyper-Cacher at the Porte de Vincennes are included in this fun-loving jamboree’s list of Islamophobes.
Join the struggle for a good larf: Islamic Human Rights Commission.
Lars Vilks Muhammad drawings controversy.
The Krudttønden cafe in central Østerbro, Denmark, was sprayed with bullets on Saturday afternoon. The attack came during a free-speech debate with controversial Swedish artist Lars Vilks, who had depicted the prophet Muhammad in cartoons.
From the recording of the meeting on the BBC site:
We hear: “Yes, it is freedom of speech but” “the turning point is but…” “Why do we still say but…”
Sounds of shots….
There have been plenty of “buts” recently. Above of from those enemies of free-speech and liberty who begin “I condemn the Charlie Hebdo killings, But.”
Parts of Copenhagen were on lockdown Saturday night after deadly twin attacks on the Danish capital.
A café holding an event in support of freedom of speech was attacked by two gunmen early on Saturday, leaving one man dead and three police officers injured.
After searching for the gunman for hours, police reported another shooting near a synagogue in downtown Copenhagen after midnight. One man died from a gunshot wound to the head and two police officers wre left injured. The gunman fled on foot, and police warned people to be vigilant and follow the instructions of officers flooding the city centre.
The meeting was organised by Swedish artist Lars Vilks, who has faced several death threats for his controversial caricatures of the Prophet Mohammad.
The attack came just over a month after the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris, in which Islamist terrorists killed 17 people.
The French ambassador to Denmark, Francois Zimeray, was one of the speakers at the event, which was described by Helle Thorning-Schmidt, the Danish prime minister as a “terrorist act”.
As many as 200 bullet holes ripped through the window of the Krudttoenden café and at least two people were taken away on stretchers, including a uniformed police officer.
Also already in Wikipedia.
Deaths: Finn Nørgaard, 55, a film director, Dan Uzan was killed while guarding the synagogue in Krystalgade during a bat mitzvah celebration.
Two police officers were also hit but their injuries were said not to be life-threatening.
Danish Red-Green Unity bloc (Enhedslistens, De Rød-Grønne) statement, We must stand together against terror and extremism
Enhedslistens political spokesperson Johanne Schmidt-Nielsen, said after the attack to a debate on Oesterbro :
- I think we are all deeply affected and shocked by what has just happened in Copenhagen. Everything indicates that there is a terrorist attack on a peaceful debate event. You can not condemn enough. It is completely incomprehensible and mad that someone seems prepared to attack other people because of drawings or positions they disagree with. I hope the police quickly catch the person or the initiators behind the acts.
- The strongest response to such attacks is to show that we do not let ourselves be cowed. We must continue to think, write and draw exactly what we want. And we must stand together and show that terrorists and extremists will not succeed to sow discord and hatred in our society.
To those about to launch statements about Lars Vilks and the Freedom of Speech seminar full of “buts“, (notably the figures present at this event, Islamophobia and the war on terror who seem to live in a world where Islamist Genociders do not exist except as a product of ‘imperialism’) we say this:
We are not prepared to engage in the dead-end of arguing about what is, or what is not, in the Qu’ran, or ‘Islam’.
But this is what one part of actually existing Islamism, Da’esh, Islamic State, right now.
Paraded in cages ‘to be burned alive’ like Jordanian pilot: ISIS releases video claiming to show 17 Kurdish fighters in humiliating procession through Iraqi city.
Each prisoner was accompanied by black clad and flag waving jihadis, some armed with AK-47s
Coptic Christians Captured by Islamic State in Libya.
More on that story, International Business Times.
Torture: a ‘Useful Tool’ Says Marine Le Pen.
“Moi je crois que les gens qui s’occupent des terroristes et accessoirement de leur tirer des informations, lorsque ces informations leur permettent de sauver des vies civiles, sont des gens qui sont responsables. S’il y a des abus c’est aux Etats-Unis de le déterminer”, a-t-elle commenté. “Il peut y avoir des cas, comme quand une bombe doit exploser dans une heure ou dans deux heures et, accessoirement peut faire des victimes civiles, où il est utile de faire parler la personne pour savoir où est la bombe avec les moyens qu’on peut”, a-t-elle ajouté.
I believe that those who deal with terrorists, who have also to extract information from them – information that allows civilian lives to be saved – are responsible people. If there’s abuses in the USA it’s for them to work this out,” she commented, “There could be cases, when a bomb is about to explode in an hour or two – something that could cause civilian victims – when it is useful to make somebody talk in order to find out where the bomb has been placed – using the means that one can.” – she continued.
Torture can be a “useful” tool in certain cases French far-right leader Marine le Pen said on Wednesday, before later backtracking and stating that her words had been “misinterpreted”.
Speaking early Wednesday on BFMTV in an interview discussing the revelations that the CIA used brutal interrogation methods, Le Pen said she “did not condemn” the use of torture when questioning terror suspects.
“Of course [torture] can be used,” she said. “It’s been used throughout history.”
“I believe that the people responsible for getting information out of terror suspects that can save civilian lives do a responsible job,” she added.
“There are times, such as if a bomb is about to go off, when it is useful to get a suspect to talk…by any means.”
This is what the backtracking consists of:
(from Marine Le Pen dément avoir défendu l’usage de la torture. Libération. Marine Le Pen denies defending the use of torture.)
Specifically she asserts that the phrase “Les moyens qu’on peut” (the means available) refer to “les moyens de la loi” – legal means.
One thing is clearly on many people’s minds: Marine Le Pens father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, has regularly been accused of using torture during his time in the French military fighting against Algerian independence – most recent controversy here (2012)
I have just finished the fine Iranian novel by Parinoush Saniee the Book of Fate.
It is the story, that begins in the 1970s, of Massoumeh, a young woman from a pious family (originally based in Qum). She meets Saiid, an assistant at the local pharmacy, and falls in love, or has a crush, on him. When their letters are discovered her brothers, in a rage, beat her. To remove the ‘shame’ and keep their family’s ‘honour’ she is forced her into a face-saving marriage.
Her family are not monsters, they can be loving and kind. Father and Mother allow Massoumeh to turn down unsuitable partners. She is wed to Hamid, a graduate, who respects women, and encourages her to continue her education (in night school and later in university). Hamid is involved with a communist group that is deeply involved in the movement against the Shah. They have high hopes.
Massoumeh reads poetry and novels and, the revolutionary tracts and books circulating in Hamid’s circle. When Hamid is imprisoned, she manages to bring up two boys and a daughter independently by working in an office.
The coming of the Islamic republic does not free Massoumeh: she is purged from her work and prevented from completing her university studies because of her husband’s background (and one of her sons, who is linked to the Mojahedin-e-Khalq) . She herself is seen as “un-Islamic”.
Saniee does not hide the faults of the Iranian left, who thought they would take power violently from the Islamists, or the numbing effect of the fall of the official Communism on those who placed their faith in the Soviet Union. It is, in the best sense, a humanist novel, which people can read in many different ways.
I stop there (the novel sweeps gracefully over a whole life, friends and family) because one thing struck me in the report below: under the Shah Hamid is sent to Evin prison to be starved, beaten and humiliated.
Ghavami has been sent to the same gaol.
A British-Iranian woman detained in Iran for trying to watch a volleyball game has been sentenced to one year in a notorious prison, according to her family and lawyer.
Ghoncheh Ghavami, 25, a law graduate from London, was found guilty of spreading “propaganda against the regime” following a secret hearing at Tehran’s revolutionary court.
Ghavami has been detained for 127 days in prison since being arrested on 20 June at Azadi (“Freedom” in Farsi) stadium in Tehran where Iran’s national volleyball team was scheduled to play Italy. Although she had been released within a few hours after the initial arrest she was rearrested days later.
Iman, from London, said he hoped his sister would be moved to another wing of the notorious Evin prison, where she has been held since June in relative solitary confinement in a jail known for housing high-profile political prisoners and activists.
He said: “She will be in the same prison but we hope she’s going to be transferred to a general section of it where she can interact with other people because now she’s being held in solitary confinement. It’s hell for everyone who is kept there.”
This is the Iranian Islamic Republic.
This is Islamic ‘law’.
The ‘honour’ of Massoumehes is protected…
And they even dare to say this,
“Iranian officials attacked the latest United Nations report on its human rights record Friday, blasting what they called efforts to impose a Western lifestyle on the Islamic republic.” (November the 2nd)
The head of Bangladesh’s largest Islamist party has been sentenced to death for war crimes committed during the independence war against Pakistan in 1971.
Motiur Rahman Nizami, 71, faced 16 charges including genocide, murder, torture and rape.
A state prosecutor said the sentence reflected the “gravity of the crimes”.
The defence said that the charges were not proven beyond reasonable doubt and that it would appeal.
There are different estimates for the number of people killed in the nine-month Bangladeshi war of secession.
Government figures suggest as many as three million people died, while some say that figure is too high and unverifiable.
A war crimes tribunal in Bangladesh with a three-judge panel announced the verdict to a packed courtroom in Dhaka.
Nizami, who was head of the Jamaat-e-Islami party, was accused of acting as supreme commander of a militia, al-Badr, an auxiliary force which helped the Pakistani army identify and kill pro-independence activists in Bangladesh.
The prosecution said the group carried out systematic torture and executions during the war, including of teachers, engineers and journalists.
Nizami served as a minister in the Bangladesh Nationalist Party-led government from 2001-2006. He was also given a death sentence in January after being convicted in an arms smuggling case.
“Considering the gravity of the crimes, the tribunal punished him with the death sentence,” state prosecutor Mohammad Ali told Reuters news agency.
This report is more graphic,
Dhaka, Oct 29 (IBNS): A Bangladesh war crimes tribunal on Wednesday handed down a death sentence to a Jamaat-e-Islami leader for his involvement in riots during the nationâ€™s independence war against Pakistan in 1971, media reported.
According to reports, Motiur Rahman Nizami, 71, was reportedly found guilty of murder, rape and looting during the nine-month long freedom war with Pakistan.
It has been learnt that the court in Dhaka sentenced Nizami to “hang by the neck until his death” for orchestrating the killings of several Bengali nationalists, including several professors, writers and doctors, during the conflict.
“Considering the gravity of the crimes, the tribunal punished him with the death sentence,” media quoted state prosecutor Mohammad Ali as saying.
According to media reports, Nizami was the commander of the Al-Badr militia, which helped the Pakistani army identify and kill pro-independence activists in Bangladesh during the war.
He was reportedly facing charges of personally carrying out the killing and ordering the deaths of nearly 600 Bangladeshis. He has been convicted of war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Following the verdict, Jamaat supporters went on rampage at different parts of the country.
Reports emerged that angry members of Jamaat-e-Islami and its student wing ‘Shibir’ have vandalised at least 20 vehicles in the city on Wednesday afternoon.
They also engaged in a chase and counter chase with Chhatra League activists in the city’s court point area as the ruling party members tried to resist them.
Security has been beefed up in Dhaka and other major cities across the country.
Previous judgments by the tribunal had also sparked off violent clashes between the police and Jamaat-e-Islami supporters.
The death sentence against a leading opposition figure in Bangladesh for war crimes will not bring justice to the millions of victims of the independence war, Amnesty International said.
Additionally, the defence team has consistently raised concerns that trial proceedings have not followed fair trial standards.
Motiur Rahman Nizami, head of Jamaat-e-Islami, the third largest political party in Bangladesh, was sentenced to death for war crimes on Wednesday by the International Crimes Tribunal (ICT), a Bangladeshi court established to investigate the events of Bangladesh’s 1971 independence war.
“Bangladesh must overturn the death sentence against Motiur Rahman Nizami and all others. The death penalty is the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment and can never be a way to deliver justice,” said Abbas Faiz, Amnesty International’s Bangladesh Researcher.
“The crimes committed during the independence war were horrific, and there is no question that victims deserve justice. But the death penalty only perpetuates the cycle of violence.”
“The death penalty is not only a violation of the right to life, but it is an irreversible punishment if it leads to execution, and leaves no room to correct any possible judgment errors or fair trial violations from the proceedings.”
All verdicts so far have come against individuals associated with the opposition Jamaat-e-Islami party. The ICT has faced allegations of unfair trials from rights groups since it was established – complaints echoed by Nizami’s defence team during the trial.
“The ICT is a unique opportunity for justice and reconciliation in Bangladesh. But in the face of consistent concerns raised by the defence team about the trials not being fair it will only have the opposite effect and create more resentment,” said Abbas Faiz.
Previous death sentences handed down by the ICT have led to large-scale street protests, and Jamaat-e-Islami have already called for a three-day national strike (hartal) to protest today’s verdict.
“The political situation in Bangladesh is extremely tense, and there is a real risk that any street demonstrations could erupt into violence. It is crucial that security forces ensure that people’s right to demonstrate peacefully is respected, and that leaders on all sides urge their supporters to not commit abuses,” said Abbas Faiz.
As of today, 140 countries have abolished the death penalty in law or practice. Bangladesh was one of only nine countries that carried out executions every year between 2009 and 2013.
Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases without exception, regardless of the nature or circumstances of the crime; guilt, innocence or other characteristics of the individual; or the method used by the state to carry out the execution. The organization calls on the Bangladeshi authorities to immediately establish a moratorium on executions as a first step towards abolition and commute all death sentences.
Michael Ignatieff: Assad as Partner of the West – the “alternative is more years of civil war, death and destruction.”
Ignatieff: Assad as Lesser Evil.
Michael Ignatieff is known as a “humanitarian interventionist”.
On the Iraq War and the US-led invasion in 2003 he said this (Guardian 2003),
To support the war entails a commitment to rebuild that order on new foundations. To support the war entails other discomforts as well. It means remaining distinct from the company you keep, supporting a swift and decisive victory, while maintaining your distance from the hawks, the triumphalists, the bellowing commentators who mistake machismo for maturity.
Ignatieff’s academic and political career (as leader of the Canadian Liberal Party) is outlined here.
More recently, Der Spiegel reports, “working on behalf of the United Nations he was largely responsible for developing the concept of “Responsibility to Protect,” or “R2P,” which foresees mandatory international measures if a civilian population is threatened with genocide. As the head of the Liberal Party from 2008 to 2011, he served as the leader of Canada’s political opposition in Ottawa. Ignatieff, often cited as one of the most important thinkers of our time, is a professor of politics at Harvard University. He also serves as the chairman of the Richard C. Holbrook Forum for the Study of Diplomacy and Governance at the American Academy in Berlin.
Ignatieff presented an interesting account of human rights in Human rights as politics and idolatry (2001). This argues that human rights should be considered not in abstract ontological ways, but through what they do for people. Unfortunately, as was noted at the time, Ignatieff tended to adhere to a supplementary position which relied on the coercive strategies to enforce human rights without giving any clear institutional frameworks or limits for the use of force.
This lead him, as with many ‘humanitarian interventionists’ to see no boundaries for action to impose rights. That is, the issue of democratic sovereignty in countries, positive consent, was elided. Yet without the democratic expression of people’s wills this would mean in effect a legal “amalgamation of states under one superior power”, a form of undemocratic “monarchy” that Kant famously warned against.
Ignatieff has offered other ethical speculations on politics and war. One might argue that his present position is a development of the principle of the “lesser evil” – morally disreputable acts that are needed to prevent still worse outcomes – that he defended in The Lesser Evil: Political Ethics in an Age of Terror (2003)
In Der Spiegel a few days ago this interview appeared, which does not seem to have picked up widely elsewhere.
It can be compared with the above comments.
One should read the whole interview but these passages stick out,
Ignatieff: The destruction of the Assad regime’s chemical weapons, covered by a UN resolution, was a success. But Western countries, facing the obstructive posture of Moscow and Beijing in the Security Council, failed to prevent the massive killings in the civil war. That’s a tragedy. If our goal is to protect the civilian population in Syria, and we apply the R2P doctrine, this can only mean that additional arms shipments to any forces will only worsen the situation.
SPIEGEL: Why are you so certain about that?
Ignatieff: Everyone who is turning the Syrian civil war into a proxy war — Saudi Arabia and Qatar, as well as Russia and Iran — must understand that no side, neither Assad nor the rebels, can win the conflict. That the continued fighting will only cost more and more human lives. A UN-brokered cease-fire could emerge from a recognition of the stalemate. Each side would adjust to the status quo. The outcome would be a divided Syria, with Assad in control in Damascus, but with a de-facto dominance in the north and east for the rebels of the Free Syrian Army and the Kurds — once the Islamic State has been destroyed. Some rather strange, indirect alliances will have been created. After all, both Assad and the West fear and are fighting the jihadists.
SPIEGEL: And he is now offering his services to the West as a partner. You wouldn’t have any objection to keeping the dictator in power — Assad as the lesser evil?
Ignatieff: I think it’s the only way to end the slaughter of the civilian population. Listen, I know that this is a deal with the devil. It’s hard to imagine an uglier tradeoff for peace and justice than this one. But continuing to demand Assad’s removal without having real leverage to force it to happen has become an empty threat — an even more hopeless strategy. The alternative is more years of civil war, death and destruction.
SPIEGEL: With all due respect, now you’re sounding more like a jaded political realist than a hopeful, humanitarian interventionist.
Ignatieff: Even if I continue to believe in the responsibility to protect and build on its importance, I can’t put this concept above everything else. I’ve spent my whole life trying to reconcile my human rights convictions with realistic geopolitics. Sometimes it’s an almost unbearable discrepancy.