Thursday, June 27, 2013

Another failure of justice in Iran

It is clear that the Iranian legal system is not changing, despite the election of a new government. The case of Sattar Beheshti must be taken to court, and all evidence must be fully examined; failure to do this will show that any hope for reform in Iran will be lost. Beheshti's killers, members of FATA, and the security forces who continue to threaten his family should also be imprisoned.
The wrongful death of Sattar Beheshti and the continuing plight of his family are more painful reminders that the international community needs to keep a watchful eye on Iran. Until the Iranian legal system is changed to protect innocent victims, a genuinely free and democratic Iran cannot exist. Pressure must be maintained on the Iranian government to ensure that victims of Iran's cruel legal system can finally receive justice.
What is your reaction to this story?

Friday, June 21, 2013

Bangladeshi workers ignored with amended labour law

The amended labour law is a slap in the face to Bangladeshi workers who continue to be exploited! Preventing Bangladeshi workers from getting better working conditions and being able to unionize show that the Bangladeshi government is just as guilty as Western retailers of abusing Bangladeshi workers! The suggestion that the Bangladeshi government should decide whether Bangladeshi workers should get an already inadequate 5% of profits donated to them by the companies also makes it clear that the Bangladeshi government has no interest in protecting its own workers!
The industrial disasters of November 2012 at Tazreen and April 2013 at Rana Plaza made it obvious that Bangladeshi garment workers were being treated like disposable cogs in a machine, yet the Bangladeshi government callously chooses to ignore the plight of its own citizens! It is clear that citizens around the world still need to put pressure on the garment industry and the Bangladeshi government to stop worker exploitation in Bangladesh. On May 22, 2013, I posted an e-mail interview with Arif Ullah, a petition organizer  who is advocating for Bangladeshi workers' rights: In our e-mail interview, he elaborates on the issue of worker exploitation in Bangladesh, and provides in-depth information about the garment industry and the Bangladeshi government being complicit in abusing its workers. I have also provided a link to his petition in that blog post, and I will provide it again.
To help Bangladeshi garment workers get better working conditions, please sign Arif Ullah's petition:

Monday, June 17, 2013

Doctors, refugee advocates protest cuts to refugee health care in Canada

Refugees coming to Canada already face major challenges trying to adjust to life in a new country, and the latest cuts to refugee health care only exacerbate those challenges. The excuse of "cost-cutting" is unjustified--waiting until refugees' illnesses are hazardous to public safety and health will endanger the lives of refugees and Canadian citizens. The health costs will also increase, as treatments for illnesses in the advanced stages will certainly cost more than preventing the development of illnesses in the first place. The well-being of refugees is just as important as the well-being of Canadian citizens--by denying a basic human right such as health care to refugees, Canada's reputation as a country that treats all people equally has been thrown into question.

What is your reaction to this story?

Friday, June 7, 2013

Victim wrongfully detained in Syria

A June 7, 2013 news release from the Gulf Center for Human Rights (GCHR) reports that 22 year old Suhaib Hassan Swaidan, a Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) volunteer, was held against his will in the Syrian city of Homs on May 23, 2013. Various sources confirmed that he had been arrested by the Military Intelligence, part of the Syrian Army, when he was crossing the Cultural Centre checkpoint with a SARC First Aid Squad Ambulance Team. The checkpoint is in the Al-Midan area near Al-Mahatta Avenue, located in the city of Homs.
After Swaidan was arrested, there has been no information given to his family regarding any charges against him or his whereabouts from the Military Intelligence. However, some recently released former detainees confirmed that Swaidan is being held at the Military Intelligence Prison, located in Homs. Another report stated that he has been mistreated  by the prison authorities, and it is feared that he is being tortured because of his solitary confinement.
Swaidan has sustained two injuries while working with SARC. In August 2011, shrapnel caused by nearby shelling hit him in his neck. Then, in January 2012 during First Aid missions in Homs, a bullet hit his thigh, which permanently damaged his nerves and the structure of his leg, requiring rehabilitation. Swaidan is a second year student at the Faculty of Economics in Hama, a Syrian city. He has been a volunteer with the SARC since 2011. He was a member of SARC's Human Resources Committee of Homs City Branch and a leader of a First Aid Squad. 
The wrongful imprisonment of Suhaib Hassan Swaidan is a new low in the human rights abuses being committed against innocent Syrians. To arrest an innocent person, now disabled, who worked to save other people's lives without presenting any charges or informing his family, shows that Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad is not trying to maintain "stability"--this is about tainting anyone as an enemy, destroying any opposition, and upholding a tyrant state!!!
How many Syrians have to die and be wrongfully imprisoned before President Al-Assad is taken to the International Criminal Court (ICC) to be tried for crimes against humanity? "No evidence exists" CANNOT be used as an excuse, because PLENTY of evidence exists to prove that President Al-Assad is a war criminal!!! By failing to take President Al-Assad to the ICC, the international community is complicit in maintaining a corrupt political system in Syria and proving that human rights abusers will be rewarded instead of punished, like they should be!!!