“War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength.” - George Orwell (Nineteen Eighty-Four). Thus begins the Rajapakse era, with the arrest of Gen. Sarath Fonseka. I did not and do not consider Sarath Fonseka to be a hero, any more than I consider Mahinda Rajapakse and Gotabhaya Rajapakse to be heroes. Still I believe Fonseka’s arrest should be a matter of gravest and most intimate concern to all those who value democratic freedoms, because it symbolises the conclusive triumph of a new political commonsense which equates Mahinda Rajapakse (and his brothers) with the country and thus damns any opponent of Rajapakse rule as an enemy of the nation. A democracy which equates opposition to the powers that be with treachery to the nation is no longer a democracy but an autocracy.
The UN Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Somalia, Dr. Shamsul Bari, issued a strong warning on the security, human rights and humanitarian situation in the country, including Somaliland and Puntland. Dr. Bari described as “extremely serious” the situation in South and Central Somalia, where civilians continue to bear the brunt of the fighting between forces of the Transitional Federal Government forces (TFG) and Islamist armed groups.
In this 2004 paper by Alana M. Morrissette (Brandon, Manitoba), the author begins by citing Sybil Milton: 'The study of women and the Holocaust has barely begun, and the complexities and contours of the subject... will keep historians and other analysts occupied for many years', and goes on to describe how women were physically and emotionally injured even before their deportation to Nazi death camps. You can read the full paper here: www.jhcwc.org/morrissette2004.pdf
Dublin war-crimes tribunal, conducted by Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal (PPT) based in Milan, which held hearings on Thursday and Friday on war-crime charges on Sri Lanka from eye-witnesses and other material evidence, in the preliminary findings issued Saturday said, Sri Lanka Government is "guilty of War-Crimes" and "guilty of Crimes Against Humanity."
Thousands of internally displaced in Somalia's central town of Beletweyne are on the move again following 10 days of fighting between rival Islamist militias, amid reports of continuing heavy shelling in parts of the town. According to a humanitarian bulletin covering 8-15 January by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA Somalia), at least 30 people have been killed and 50 injured, mostly civilians, with many artillery shells landing on residential areas. OCHA could not confirm the number of displaced.
A Joint Statement by the Asian Legal Resource Centre and Lawyers Rights Watch Canada, November 26, 2009: Lawyers Rights Watch Canada (LRWC) and the Asian Legal Resource Centre (ALRC) condemn the execution of two human rights lawyers, Concepcion Brizuela and Cynthia Oquendo, along with 55 others in the November 23, 2009 massacre in Maguindanao province of the Philippines. Below, in a statement, The Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development, mourn the loss of the two brave human rights defenders, and call on us to take action and send a letter to President Gloria Arroyo of the Philippines demanding justice.
HRW called on the Yemeni government to investigate responsibility for any attacks on civilians, and urged all parties to the armed conflict in the region to respect the prohibition under international law against targeting civilians.