Archive for the Human Rights Abuses Category

Journalists Freed!

Posted in Asia, Domestic, Human Rights Abuses with tags , , , , on August 5, 2009 by Black Pumpkin

I was hopeful when I read that former President Bill Clinton was going to North Korea to ask that the two journalists, Euna Lee and Laura Ling, be freed.  But I didn’t want to get too hopeful until I read that they have actually been released.  So I am very glad that Clinton did what he did.

Even if they were treated well, they should never have been arrested and sentenced to 12 years hard labor.

Of course, not everyone is happy about their release.  John Bolton has decried Clinton’s visit even if he wasn’t explicitly saying that these two journalists were not worth it.  Perhaps Bolton thought it was a bad idea to try to get North Korea to release them because they were working for Current TV which was founded by Al Gore.  And of course, one of the Clintons got them released, so that has got to get under his skin.

More on John Bolton from Wikipedia.

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China Has Muslims Too?

Posted in Asia, Human Rights Abuses with tags , , on July 8, 2009 by Black Pumpkin

Yes, believe it or not, China has a segment of the population that is Muslim.  And they are now fighting against the Chinese government for religious freedom and an end to persecution.

Now, I am one who believes whole-heartedly that we should all abandon religion for a number of reasons.  (Someday I will write about that exclusively.)  But I think one of the basic freedoms that a citizen (of any country) must have is the freedom to believe whatever they want (as long as it doesn’t infringe on others rights, of course.)  So if people want to believe that Jesus is their personal lord and savior and he is one true way to Heaven, so be it.  Or perhaps they feel they must submit themselves to Allah.  Go for it.  I might argue that you are wrong, but I am not going to point a gun at you and tell to stop believing.  And unfortunately, that is what the Chinese government seems to do all too often.  Whether it is those that practice Falun Gong or the Uighers, the Chinese government feels that they should not believe any of it, and they are more than happy to use violence and repression to reach their goals.  Of course, it doesn’t often work.  It just drives these people underground.  And if you really want to get rid of religion, there are much better (and certainly less violent) ways to do it.  Try education, it works.

And, of course, Glenn Greenwald brings up a great point: What if the Uighers were Christians?

Practically the Definition of Irony

Posted in Human Rights Abuses with tags , , on June 10, 2009 by Mort the Sport

I find it ridiculously ironic that Shell is going to pay the Wiwa family $15.5 million, but it refuses to admit any wrongdoing. I spotted this Wikipedia article after talking to Black Pumpkin. (BP, I would not have noticed it had you not told me about the case beforehand.) Here’s the NY Times piece. This settlement is absurd. It’s like saying, “Here, I’ll pay for your totaled car, but the accident wasn’t my fault.” I wonder how the folks at Shell can honestly claim that this was simply a “gesture of sympathy.” If it is, it’s a pretty expensive gesture.

North Korean “Diplomacy”

Posted in Asia, Human Rights Abuses on June 9, 2009 by Black Pumpkin

MTS brings up a good point in his comment to a previous post about North Korea jailing two journalists.  I certainly hope I am wrong about this but it seems that North Korea keeps upping the ante in their “diplomatic relations” with the rest of the world, especially the US.  They test fire missiles, conduct nuclear weapons tests and even renounced the armistice between themselves and South Korea.  Now, they are basically holding two journalist (and possibly forcing them into some kind of work camps) for essentially nothing more than trespassing.  The real reason they are being held may have more to do with trying to get something from the US in the way of concessions at the bargaining table, if they ever sit down to talk again.

I sincerely believe that whether we go back to six-party talks or even one-on-one talks, we need to talk to North Korea.  It is all too clear that attacking them directly would be a huge mistake, but I don’t think anything will change unless we begin more dialogue with them.  And with the Kim Jong-Il naming his son as his successor, this seems to be a time ripe for just this sort of thing.

What we don’t need is threats from the US.

North Korea Jails Journalists

Posted in Asia, Human Rights Abuses with tags on June 8, 2009 by Black Pumpkin

Two journalists, Laura Ling and Euna Lee, working for Current TV were sentenced to 12 years hard labor by the North Korean government.  They were working on a story about the trafficking of women near the Chinese border with North Korea.

I commend these women for doing what they were doing.  I can only imagine the courage it must take to do something like that.  And I don’t think I can think of a worse place to be than in a North Korean prison.   In this LA Times article, it explains just how bad it can be.  It is really unbelievable.  I certainly hope that the Obama administration is doing all it can to ensure the release of these two women who have done nothing wrong.  I know we don’t have the best relationship with North Korea, but this is something that I think deserves immediate attention.

North Korea jails US journalists (BBC)