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Archive for the ‘Human Rights’ Category

This actually woke me up at 2am originally!!! 2am!

I thought a neighbour was drilling. After waiting 2o minutes I angrily launched myself outside to ‘give them a piece of my mind’ only to find a crew of construction workers sawing up the train tracks!

I can’t believe how much noise they’re making! Yargh!

Anyway I thought I’d film them for no other reason than to share with you all the noise! And then I got a ‘bit’ carried away with a video editing program I didn’t even know I had. Huzah.

If they don’t stop soon and allow me to go to sleep I think I will go mad. I’ve already gone outside in only my pants and a t-shirt, sat on a swing and secretly filmed construction workers – who knows what I’ll do with even more sleep deprivation.

Below is the video. You can share in my agony…..

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Firewalls organised by countries seems all the rage at the moment. The recent controversy is Australia joining China and Denmark in building it’s own firewall. They’re being slightly less honest than China though. At least China has the honesty to say ‘Yes we don’t want our citizens having free access to information, we don’t think they will use it responsibly, we’re protecting them, and society’. Whereas Australia says ‘Oh yes everyone has freedom of information, we have no firewalls here….oh wait….except this small one…you can look at what you want of course… unless it’s something we don’t like…’.

This all started with anti-terrorism measures. Must stop those naughty terrorists recruiting each other on ‘terrorism forums’ or looking up how to make bombs etc. Then obviously they thought about it for a while and decided they must also stop naughty people who enjoy looking at naked children. All perfectly reasonable of course, no-one would argue paeodophiles should have free access to what they want. Except…..wait a moment…. aren’t there already laws against that?

Now I hear that there is a ‘blacklist’ of websites in Australia. Apparently if you link to one of these websites you can be fined up to $11,000.  And the blacklist is secret. And not all of the websites on it are illegal. So you can be FINED for linking to a LEGAL webpage that you have no way of knowing is banned. Hmmm. Highly dubious. WHERE HAS OUR FREEDOM GONE????

This seriously gets my goat up.

Wikileaks has apparently sneakily published the blacklist. Only, I just tried to go to the website, and I can’t. It won’t load. That is VERY suspicious!

You can read more here and also here.  Also try clicking wikileaks here and see if it loads for you.

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Can you believe that many countries still practise stoning as a form of capital punishment? There are people awaiting this archaic form of punishment as I type!

Stoning (also called lapidation) is a method of execution where people have stones thrown at them until they die. It is an ancient punishment having its roots in many different religions and cultures throughout history. In the Old Testament it’s recommended as a punishment for murder and blasphemy (no Monty Python quotes please, this is serious). The ancient Greeks used it to punish prostitutes, adulterers and murderers. In more recent times stoning has come to be associated with Islam even though it is not mentioned in the Qur’an.

Currently stoning is a LEGAL form of punishment in Afghanistan, Iran (In 2002, the Head of the Judiciary of Iran, Ayatollah Shahroudi, mandated that stoning would no longer be practised in Iran. However the laws were never officially removed from the penal code and it is still being practised.), Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan, Sudan and the United Arab Emirates.

And what crime is so heinous that it warrants stoning in these countries? In the large majority of cases it’s ‘adultery of married persons’ (zina al-Mohsena). Both men and women are punished in this way for this ‘crime’. But of course in reality women are the main victims. For example, there are currently 10 people awaiting stoning in Iran, nine of these are women! Why is this? The Global Campaign to Stop Killing and Stoning Women puts the reason as the result of misogynist and discriminatory laws. It is easier for a man to get out of a marriage than a woman.

As with all capital punishment there is always the problem of false conviction. What if the evidence is later found to be flawed and the accused was actually innocent the whole time? Too late, they’ve already been bludgeoned to death! In cases of adultery this is all too common as the ‘proof’ is witness testimony. Of course witnesses can have their own agendas such as revenge, jealousy etc. Or perhaps they just remembered things slightly wrong! Witnesses are not reliable! Memory is not reliable! There’s also the fact that in many of these countries the Judge can ignore all witnesses and just go with his gut feeling about the case! How can that possibly count as a fair trial?

All capital punishment is wrong. This form of capital punishment in particular is deliberately designed to cause the most suffering in the victim and strike the most fear in the people watching. Stoning is a violation of the International Convention of Civil and Political Rights (1966). Iran, Afghanistan, Iraq and the Sudan are all party signatories of this.

Article 7 of the ICCPR states that “No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment”. I think being half buried in the ground and then having small rocks thrown at you until you suffer enough injury to pass out and then die counts as all the above. This is a very slow and painful way to die.

Article 6 says that “in countries which have not abolished the death penalty, sentence of death may be imposed only for the most serious crimes”. Adultery is NOT a serious crime!

In many cultures it is seen as a crime, this is true. But that is no excuse for such a harsh punishment. As The Global Campaign to Stop Killing and Stoning Women sums up:

No ‘culture’ has the right to kill and harm women based on their perceptions of morality or honour. The freedom of belief does not mean freedom to kill. Stoning is a brutal example of how culture and religion are being misused to perpetuate violence against women. (http://stop-stoning.org/faq_stoning)

I encourage anyone reading this to stand up for people’s rights and go read more about the mentioned campaign. Or go to Amnesty International and petition the various involved governments to abolish stoning!

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