ModernityBlog

“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” Abraham Lincoln

Posts Tagged ‘report

In Bahrain, The West’s Ally, Prosecutes Medical Staff.

leave a comment »

As the regime in Bahrain puts medical staff in the dock, they’ve managed to do what only the worst dictatorships, mad monarchs and authoritarians do, lock up a poet.

Reuters reports:

“MANAMA — A Bahraini court sentenced a young Shi’ite poet to one year in prison on Sunday for taking part in illegal protests and incitement against the Gulf state’s monarchy.

Ayat al-Qurmouzi, 20, was arrested after she recited a poem mocking the Bahraini king and demanding he step down, during protests led by the country’s Shi’ite majority that gripped the kingdom in February and March.

A relative confirmed her sentence, saying Qurmouzi’s family had feared for her safety in detention.

Bahrain, a U.S. ally that hosts the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet, called in troops from its fellow Sunni-led Gulf neighbor Saudi Arabia to help it crush the pro-democracy protests in March.

Qurmouzi is one of about 400 people, most of them Shi’ites, who the Shi’ite opposition party Wefaq says have been put on trial for their roles in the protests.

Some 50 people have already been given sentences ranging from short prison terms to execution, the group says.

The Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights said in a statement on Sunday that Qurmouzi and others had been ill-treated in custody. “

The Guardian covers it here.

On top of that, Bahrain’s rulers are prosecuting medical staff, in direct contravention of the Geneva Convention:

“Manama, Bahrain (CNN) — Dozens of doctors and nurses went on trial Monday in Bahrain, accused of taking control of a hospital during anti-government protests, storing weapons and keeping people prisoner.

The doctors, their lawyers and international human rights activists say the defendants were tortured to extract confessions against a background of demonstrations in the kingdom.

Eleven male doctors appeared in court Monday, their heads shaven, alongside at least five female doctors. They appeared stressed and anxious.

One of the doctors tried to tell the judge that his confession had been extracted under torture, but the judge told him to stop and that he would be able to give evidence later in the trial.

Human rights groups have accused the government of widespread attacks on doctors and other medical workers.

“We documented a systematic attack on medical staff in Bahrain including the beatings, torture and disappearances of more than 30 physicians,” said Richard Sollom, deputy director of Physicians for Human Rights.

“We found doctors were simply providing ethical and life-saving medical care to patients whom Bahraini security forces had shot, detained and tortured,” Sollom said.

Physicians for Human Rights, a group that shared the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize for its efforts to ban landmines, says it sent investigators to the Persian Gulf kingdom and interviewed 45 patients, doctors, nurses and witnesses.

The report details attacks on “physicians, medical staff, patients and unarmed civilians with the use of bird shot, physical beatings, rubber bullets, tear gas and unidentified chemical agents,” the group said in an April report.

Its report echoes those released earlier by Human Rights Watch and Doctors Without Borders.

Syria And Assorted News.

with 2 comments

The news coming out of Syria is terrible, Left Foot Forward covers it.

Amnesty International highlights the plight of medical staff in Bahrain that are scheduled to go on trial on Monday.

It seems that the Iranian state is getting people accustomed to the idea of a nuclear test, or at least that is one plausible reading coming out of this piece in the Guardian.

This extract is for Sally Hunt, UCU General Secretary lest she forget what institutional racism means. [Thanks to Flesh Is Grass.]

Apparently, a Tory MP has sexually assaulted a woman, and guess who he blames? The woman. Then he proceeds to cast doubt on the veracity of the victim’s account of the assault. I am sure if UCU members read the Indy article with a critical eye they will see a message there.

Another EDL thug.

An eyewitness account from Syria.

Finally, the Washington Post has a page on the Palin emails. I liked this bit, Sarah Palin emails hint at her governing style.

Western Interests And Bahrain.

leave a comment »

Outside of Government circles or some parts of the media it is fairly clear that the West has moderated and muted criticism of the repression going on in Bahrain, Reuters has a good piece on it:

“(Reuters) – The fate of Bahrain’s protest movement is a stark reminder of how Western and regional power politics can trump reformist yearnings, even in an Arab world convulsed by popular uprisings against entrenched autocrats.
Bahrain is not Libya or Syria, but Western tolerance of the Sunni monarchy’s crackdown suggests that interests such as the U.S. naval base in Manama, ties to oil giant Saudi Arabia and the need to contain neighboring Iran outweigh any sympathy with pro-democracy demonstrators mostly from the Shi’ite majority.

“The response from the West has been very timid and it shows the double standards in its foreign policy compared to Libya,” said Nabeel Rajab of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights.

“Saudi influence is so huge on Bahrain now and the West has not stood up to it, which has disappointed many. They’re losing the hearts and minds of the democrats in Bahrain.”

Iran has hardly been consistent either, fiercely criticizing Bahrain’s treatment of its Shi’ites, and praising Arab revolts elsewhere as “Islamic awakenings” — except the uprising in its lone Arab ally Syria, which it blames on a U.S.-Israeli plot.

Bahrain’s king said on Sunday a state of emergency, imposed in March after Saudi-led troops arrived to help crush protests, would be lifted on June 1, two weeks before it expires.

That would be two days before a deadline set by Formula One organizers for Bahrain to decide whether to reschedule a Grand Prix it was to have hosted on March 13. The motor race was postponed because of the unrest then shaking the Gulf island.

Bahrain is eager to prove that stability has returned after the upheaval in which at least 29 people, all but six of them Shi’ites, have been killed since protests erupted in February.

VERBAL SLAPS

Apart from verbal slaps on the wrist, the United States and its allies have stood by as Bahrain, egged on by Saudi Arabia, has pursued a punitive campaign that appears to target Shi’ites in general, not just the advocates of more political freedoms, a constitutional monarchy and an end to sectarian discrimination. ” [my emphasis.]

Bahrain: Medical Professionals On Trial.

leave a comment »

The Bahraini government has broken so many international conventions in terms of attacking civilians, putting down legitimate protests and quashing freedom of speech, now they are putting doctors and other medical professionals on trial, CNN reports:

“The justice ministry in Bahrain said 47 medical professionals will be tried for crimes that include incitement to overthrow the regime, deadly assault and refusal to help persons in need.

Twenty-four doctors and 23 nurses and paramedics have been charged.

During the protests in the Gulf kingdom, witnesses say security forces in Bahrain stormed the Salmaniya Medical Complex in Manama beating doctors and demonstrators. Bahraini officials deny those accounts.

Activists and human rights groups have alleged that medical personnel have been targeted by Bahraini officials for treating protestors. “

The Physicians for Human Rights report on Bahrain goes into greater detail:

“Thousands of protesters in the small island Kingdom of Bahrain in the Persian Gulf took to the streets calling for government reform in February and March 2011. The Government’s response was brutal and systematic: shoot civilian protesters, detain and torture them, and erase all evidence. On the frontline, treating hundreds of these wounded civilians, doctors had first-hand knowledge of government atrocities.

This report details systematic and targeted attacks against medical personnel, as a result of their efforts to provide unbiased care for wounded protestors. The assault on healthcare workers and their patients constitutes extreme violations of the principle of medical neutrality and are grave breaches of international law. Medical neutrality ensures

1. the protection of medical personnel, patients, facilities, and transport from attack or interference;
2. unhindered access to medical care and treatment;
3. the humane treatment of all civilians; and
4. nondiscriminatory treatment of the injured and sick.

While in Bahrain, PHR investigators spoke with several eyewitnesses of abducted physicians, some of whom were ripped from their homes in the middle of the night by masked security forces. For each doctor, nurse, or medic that the government disappears, many more civilians’ lives are impacted as patients go untreated.

Armed security forces abducted Dr. Ali El-Ekri from the operating room while he was performing surgery at Salmaniya Hospital on 17 March. Another doctor was abducted in the middle of the night from his home in front of his wife and three children. Police and masked men in civilian clothes stormed the home of Dr. Abdul Khaliq al-Oraibi on 1 April. The security forces dragged him out of bed, handcuffed, and then blindfolded him. They did not say where or why they were taking him. His family has not heard from him since.

Physicians for Human Rights uncovered egregious abuses against patients and detainees including torture, beating, verbal abuse, humiliation, and threats of rape and killing. For example, security forces shot Ali in the face and head at close range with birdshot. He woke up later in Salmaniya Hospital where he was held for five days. On his second day, three armed security forces handcuffed Ali and a dozen other wounded men behind their backs with plastic wrist ties and began to beat them. Then the security forces threw Ali and the other patients face first onto the floor and dragged them out into the hallway, leaving trails of blood on the floor. Interrogation, torture, and forced confessions followed. “

[My emphasis.]

The Far Right And The Lone Wolf Thesis.

with one comment

I have masses of draft posts and forgot about this useful site, the Lone Wolf Project.

It covers the false notion that Far Right bombers and terrorists are basically lone wolves, and should be treated as such.

Whereas the reality is that they cooperate across the Internet and are of much greater danger than is often believed, as violence is intrinsic to the Far Right’s beliefs. Here is an extract from the report:

“David Copeland’s two-week bombing campaign in spring 1999 brought the existence of far-right terrorism into the public eye. In fact he was not the first far-right terrorist to be convicted in Britain and many others have followed.

Nevertheless the police, Crown Prosecution Service and courts have generally viewed far-right terrorists as isolated individuals inevitable consequence of the activities of several, often small, organisations that espouse a violent racist and fascist ideology.

This has meant that the authorities have failed to put in place effective strategies to monitor these extreme-right groups with a view to early identification of those individuals who show signs of making the transition from racist abuse and threatening behaviour to terrorism and murder.

This report includes case studies of nearly 40 individuals holding far-right political views who have been convicted for violence or terrorist offences.

The details revealed in court showed that they were motivated, and obtained the knowledge and wherewithal to carry out their acts, through dangerous networks that introduced them to a perverse ideological world.

Many of them used the internet to associate with likeminded people, exchange ideas and obtain information about how to acquire weapons or make explosives and deadly chemicals.”

Lone wolves: myth or reality? [ a PDF download].

Written by modernityblog

21/04/2011 at 19:47

Racism In The UK.

with 4 comments

The European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) has just released a report on racism in the United Kingdom.

There have been four such reports since 1999 and they can be found here, in English and French.

Briefly scanning the report I noticed a few issues, particularly concerning blacks in Britain, the Roma, refugees and how many Muslims feel stigmatised in the current political climate:

“While progress has been made towards eliminating discrimination, many inequalities remain. Black children are still around twice as likely as others to be permanently excluded from school, and outcomes in the field of de facto ethnic and religious segregation in schools also do not seem to have improved significantly. Not enough has been done to eliminate prejudices and discrimination occurring in the workplace, for example against Muslims; Black and minority ethnic groups are also under­represented across the public sector. In parallel, discrimination law has become more complex, meaning victims need legal assistance in this field. Some ethnic minorities continue to face specific health problems, and their health in general is vulnerable to conditions of social and economic disadvantage. Ethnic minorities continue to be over­represented in the prison population, and their proportion continues to rise.

Gypsies and Travellers are still among the most disadvantaged minority ethnic groups in the United Kingdom and the most likely to face discrimination in all fields of daily life, and they face some of the most severe levels of hostility and prejudice. Much more still needs to be done to redress the situation. Adequate site provision, which is frequently at the crux of escalating community tensions, remains an especially pressing issue.

Refugees and asylum seekers also remain vulnerable in the United Kingdom to destitution, wrong decisions and wrongful detention, and the tone of public discourse remains frequently hostile towards them. At the same time, measures put forward by the authorities as part of proposals to consolidate immigration legislation foreshadow generally more restrictive policies in this field, and hostility towards migrant workers appears to be increasing.

Anti­terror provisions also continue to cause concern. Stops and searches under anti­terror legislation disproportionately affect members of Black and minority ethnic communities. Research has shown that Muslims feel stigmatised and alienated by these measures, and young Muslims who have been regularly stopped and searched feel increasingly marginalised. Black men are also around four times more likely than White men to be included in the national DNA database. Overall, Black and minority ethnic people are more likely to be imprisoned than White people, and more likely than White people to die in prison. “

I think the ECRI’s report paints an accurate picture as far as I can make out. I will come back to it later, time permitting.

Update 1: The ECRI discusses the Crown Prosecution Service’s annual report on hate crime.

Unfortunately it’s not very easy to find nor is the latest report terribly lucid, it doesn’t tell you anything significantly worthwhile. I was hoping for a breakdown on racial offences in Britain, etc but the best I could find was that some “75% of hate crime defendants were identified as belonging to the White British category, and 79% were categorised as White.”. That’s about it.

Anti-Muslim Bigotry in Europe.

with 3 comments

A new report out highlights the discrimination faced by many Muslims in Europe:

“The Open Society Institute Muslims in Europe report series constitutes the comparative analysis of data from 11 cities in seven European countries. It points out common trends and offers recommendations at the local, national, and international levels, including to the European Union and to international organizations. While not representative of the situation of all Muslims in these cities, this report does capture a snapshot of the experiences of Muslim communities in select neighborhoods in Amsterdam and Rotterdam, Antwerp, Berlin and Hamburg, Copenhagen, Leicester and Waltham Forest–London, Marseille and Paris, and Stockholm.

This body of work comes in response to major trends with regards to Muslims living in Europe: whether citizens or migrants, native born or newly-arrived, Muslims are a growing and varied population that presents Europe with one of its greatest challenges, namely how to ensure equal rights and opportunities for all in a climate of rapidly expanding diversity.”

The report summary is here, and the full 341 page report is here.

Written by modernityblog

18/12/2009 at 23:38