Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Orissa steel project threatens human rights : Amnesty

About 2,000 Indian farmers could lose their livelihoods in the next month if a proposed US$12 billion steel plant operation involving South Korean steel giant POSCO goes ahead, Amnesty International's warned today.

The Indian authorities have given POSCO conditional clearance to establish a steel plant and port operation on about 4,000 hectares of land in the coastal Jagatsinghpur district of the eastern state of Orissa.

The area includes land on which local farmers are dependent for their livelihoods, and to which they may have rights under Indian law.

The farmers' claims to the land have not been properly settled, despite the fact that official investigations have raised serious concerns about the failures of Orissa State to protect land rights in the context of the steel project.

State police could take over the land during March if the authorities fail to recognize the farmers' right to use it.

"The potential impacts on local communities could be devastating," said Ramesh GopalakrishnanAmnesty International's India Researcher. "Some 2,000 people could lose access to common lands and face destitution if the authorities fail to act."

The proposed POSCO operation would be India's biggest foreign direct investment project.

Investigations were conducted by two panels established by India's Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) in July and September 2010.

Theyconcluded that the Orissa state authorities had failed to settle community claims over common forest lands.

They also stated that the proposed steel project had violated national environmental laws and coastal regulations and failed to adequately assess the potential negative impact of the mega project on the livelihoods of the local communities.

Despite these findings it appears that the MoEF is set to allow the project to go ahead as long as Orissa state authorities can confirm that no local communities have rights to the land under the Forest Rights Act, 2008. However, this does not guarantee that the affected communities will be able to have their claims resolved through a fair and transparent process.

"India has a duty to protect local communities against human rights abuses, including those involving businesses operations," said Ramesh Gopalakrishnan.

"The authorities and POSCO must carry out a comprehensive human rights and environmental impact assessment of the project, in consultation with residents of Jagatsinghpur, and ensure that no work begins on the project until the residents' rights are protected."

Since June 2005, local communities in Jagatsinghpur district have protested the possible displacement and potential threats to their livelihoods from the POSCO project.

Protestors have erected barricades in the area and prevented officials from entering three villages. In June 2008, one protestor, Dula Mandal, was killed in by a bomb during a clash between critics and supporters of the project and in May 2010 at least 20 protestors sustained gunshot wounds when police used excessive force against them. Protests have intensified during February 2011.

Severaladivasi (indigenous) and other marginalized communities in mineral-rich states including Orissa, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal have been protesting over the potential negative impacts of major development projects on traditional forest lands and habitats on which they depend for their livelihoods.

This work is part of Amnesty International's Demand Dignity campaign which aims to end the human rights violations that drive and deepen global poverty. The campaign mobilises people all over the world to demand that governments, corporations and others who have power listen to the voices of those living in poverty and recognise and protect their rights.

CMC celebrated Woman's Day

Ludhiana: The students of College of Nursing, CMC celebrated Woman's Day in the Antenatal OPD. They conveyed message through a play on female foeticide, that if women are firm and take indipendent decision not to go for it inspite of family pressures there will be no more female deaths. The women attending antenatal OPD also took a vow to raise voice against it, now and in future too. They were also educated on the adverse effects on society if the female sex ratio decreases drastically. While speaking on the occasion Dr.Kanwal Masih Medical superintendent said the common belief of society that only a boy is responsible for our lineage. He asked the audience if someone could remember the name of his 5 ancestors to which most of the audience was tight-lipped.
Principal College of nursing Mrs.Triza Jiwan also stressed that girls have outshone the boys even though the boys have outnumbered the girls. Even so some parents, where the role of the family can not be ruled out, choose to eliminate the girls before the birth. This message was welcomed and appreciated by all participants present in the function. 
--Rector kathuria &  Shalu Arora

Women’s Day Celebreted Behind Bars

Iranian Women Rights Activists Celebrate 100th Anniversary of International Women’s Day under Pressure and Behind Bars

Tuesday 8 March 2011
Change for Equalitywww.we-change.org/english: Iranian women’s rights activists commemorate the 100th anniversary of international women’s day while facing increased pressures and while many of their colleagues remain in prison. While the activists in the One Million Signatures Campaign have remained active carrying out trainings and awareness raising activities on women’s rights the pressure on them as well as other women’s rights activists is increasing. The Campaign embarks on the 100th anniversary of International Women’s day while several of its activists remain in prison including:
Ronak Safazadeh, Kurdish women’s rights activist, currently serving a 6 year prison sentence in internal exile. She was arrested on October 9, 2007 and has been in prison since. Ronak Safazadeh is also a member of the Azar Mehr women’s NGO in Kurdistan Province.
Zeinab Bayazidi, Kurdish women’s rights activist currently serving a four year prison sentence in internal exile in the city of Zanjan. She was arrested on July 9, 2008. Her appeals process, as noted by her lawyer, was unusually speeding and suffered from legal irregularities.
Alieh Eghdamdoust, women’s rights activist, sentenced to serve three years in prison in relation to her participation in the peaceful protest in Hafte Tir Square on June 12 2006. She is currently serving her prison term in Evin. She has been in prison since February 1 2009.
Bahareh Hedayat, women and student rights activist currently serving a 9.5 year prison sentence at Evin prison. She has been denied visits and contact with her family. Bahareh was arrested on December 27, 2009 and has remained in prison since.
Nasrin Sotoodeh, human rights lawyer and women’s rights activist sentenced to 11 years of prison and 20 year ban on legal practice and travel. Nasrin was arrested on September 4 2010 and remains in prison while she appeals her sentence. New charges have been brought against her since her arrest.
Fatemeh Masjedi, women’s rights activist currently serving a 6 month prison sentence in Qom for her involvement in the Campaign. She was arrested on Friday January 28, as she was on her way to Tehran from Qom and taken to prison to start serving her sentence, despite the fact that her lawyer had filed a judicial review in her case.
Farnaz Kamali, women’s rights activist, arrested during protests on February 20, 2011. Her situation, the charges against her and her location remain unclear. She has been allowed one telephone call to her family from prison.
Also, many Campaign activists have been sentenced to prison terms in relation to their human rights or journalist activities, which have either not been implemented yet or are in appeals, including:
Mahboubeh Karami, Campaign activist who has been sentenced to serve a 3 year prison term, but the sentence has not yet been implemented.
Shiva Nazarahari, Campaign and human rights activist has been sentenced to serve a four year prison term, but the sentence has not yet been implemented.
Jila Baniyaghoub, Campaign activist and journalist has been sentenced to a 1 year prison term and a 30 year ban from journalistic activities.
Kaveh Kermanshahi, Campaign and human rights activist in Kermanshah has been sentenced to a 5 year term, which he is appealing.
Other women remain in prison during the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day well. They include women’s rights activists, student activists, journalists, political figures and human rights activists.
Some of the women currently in prison in relation to their activism include: Mahdieh Golroo, student activist, Haleh Sahabi, women and peace activist, Fariba Ibtahaj, women’s researcher and political activist, Hengameh Shahidi, journalist, Mahsa Amrabadi, journalist, Nazanin Khosravani, journalist, Atefeh Nabavi, student activist, Shabnam Madadzadeh, student activist, Zeinab Jalalian, Kurdish rights activist, Fatemeh Karoubi, political activist, Zahra Rahnavard, political activist, Fakhrolsadat Mohtashamipour, political activist, Leila Tavasolli, political activist, Mahvash Sabet, religious minority, and the list goes on…
We wish all our readers a happy International Women’s Day celebration. Here’s hoping that our colleagues and friends will be free and out of prison for next year’s celebration of the day for women.
Courtesy : We Change