Thursday, March 22, 2012

Libya Resists The Hague in War Crimes Case -

TRIPOLI, Libya — Libya’s interim authorities escalated their face-off against the International Criminal Court on Wednesday over custody of the most significant confidants to Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi taken prisoner since his ouster and death: his son Seif al-Islam el-Qaddafiand his brother-in-law Abdullah Senussi. The battle over the men’s fate is an early test of the former rebels’ commitment to the rule of the law.
Ben Curtis/Associated Press
Seif al-Islam el-Qaddafi
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Abdullah Senussi, a former Libyan intelligence chief.
In both cases, the new Libyan authorities have made statements about the legal status of the captives in direct contradiction to the views of the court, which the rebels had lauded as an invaluable ally after it issued indictments charging Colonel Qaddafi, Mr. Qaddafi and Mr. Senussi with war crimes committed in their attempt to crush an uprising.
Human rights groups and some members of the Libyan government acknowledge that Libya still lacks effective police, prosecutors, courts and prisons, as well as the wherewithal to protect judges, lawyers or witnesses from potential retribution by armed militias. But the interim authorities say they are determined to try both defendants at home because of the secrets they might reveal about the actions and assets of the former government.
With scheduled elections only months away, Libyan officials also appear afraid to buck the demand for revenge by an increasingly impatient Libyan public.
On Wednesday, the mounting legal dispute over Mr. Qaddafi, who remains in the custody of a local militia in the town of Zintan, broadened to include Mr. Senussi, Colonel Qaddafi’s longtime intelligence chief.
France has also sought Mr. Senussi, who was convicted in absentia there of murdering 170 people, including 54 French citizens, in the bombing of a passenger jet in 1989. So his capture five days ago, by the Mauritanian authorities at the Nouakchott airport, has set off a multilateral scramble for the chance to try him. (French intelligence helped orchestrate Mr. Senussi’s capture.)
Libya immediately sent a delegation of its top officials to demand custody, and as they prepared to fly back from Nouakchott on Wednesday, they asserted that Mauritania had committed in principle to surrender Mr. Senussi to them. Mr. Senussi will “soon be in a Libyan prison,” declared Mustafa Abu Shagour, deputy prime minister in the interim Libyan government, according to Reuters.
Officials at the International Criminal Court in The Hague and in Mauritania quickly disputed that prediction. “No commitment of any sort has been given in this matter,” a senior Mauritanian official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity.
In the case of Mr. Qaddafi, who had been his father’s heir apparent, Mr. Shagour and other officials have said confidently in recent interviews that the International Criminal Court had consented to a trial here under its supervision. To help prove they could handle the case, the Libyans are building what he called a “five star” maximum-security prison, Mr. Shagour said.
But a spokesman for the International Criminal Court said that the decision of where to hold a trial had not yet been made, and that a trial could take place in Libya if the country successfully challenged the court’s jurisdiction. To do so, Tripoli would need to show that it could hold a credible and fair trial.
“Consultations” are still going on, one lawyer close to the prosecution said, and representatives of the court recently visited Tripoli to discuss procedures. But the Libyans’ pleas have so far failed to persuade the judges, who continue to press for a formal hearing to settle jurisdiction.
Some Libyan officials were frank about the growing conflict. “The I.C.C. wants Seif al-Islam for sure, because they say our justice system isn’t effective,” said Fathi Baja, a member of Libya’s Transitional National Council. He noted that the Libyan authorities did not yet have the ability to properly gather evidence or present a case.
“If you bring him to trial under these conditions, I think he will be found innocent,” he said, adding, “We are asking the attorney general to speed up the process because of the pressure from the street.”
Nick Kaufman, a lawyer in Jerusalem hired by Mr. Qaddafi’s sister Aisha, has complained that the Libyan interim authorities have blocked any communication with Mr. Qaddafi, preventing the designation of a lawyer who could represent him.
In the meantime, the court has appointed two lawyers from its public defense office, Jean-Xavier Keita and Melinda Taylor, to defend Mr. Qaddafi, and lawyers familiar with the court said at least one of them had been to visit him. The public defense office has prepared a critical report on his conditions, noting that Mr. Qaddafi is being kept in isolation without any contact with his family or the outside world.
People briefed on the report say that he is suffering from a severe toothache related to dental surgery shortly before the fall of Tripoli in August, but that he has been unable to see a dentist. These people say he has also been unable to see a doctor for follow-up care for a hand injury he suffered during his flight and capture.

David D. Kirkpatrick reported from Tripoli, and Marlise Simons from The Hague. Laura Martel contributed reporting from Nouakchott, Mauritania.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Ethiopians face eviction from J’lem prot... JPost - National News

03/20/2012 03:29

Activists fighting racism have been holding vigil at spot near PM’s residence where Schalit tent stood.

ACTIVIST YAYAUO TAGANI at anti-protest tentBy Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post
Ethiopian activists holding vigil outside the Prime Minister’s Residence are facing a court-ordered eviction that could force the activists to leave in mid-April, after the permit for their protest tent expires.
“The municipality doesn’t want us here because this is a place with a lot of tourism, and we’re putting dirty laundry out to dry, it isn’t good for the holy city,” said Yayauo Tagani.
“It’s 2012, and a state that’s supposed to be equal and presents itself as such isn’t showing it’s true face. Here, we are showing the face of racism and discrimination. [The family and activists for] Gilad Schalit were here for a number of years. We’re not comparing ourselves to him, but there’s a whole community that feels they’re imprisoned by the government,” he said.
A group of six core activists has lived in a tent outside the Prime Minister’s Residence for 37 days, appealing to passersby and politicians to reexamine the issue of racism against Ethiopian immigrants in Israeli society. They set up their tent in the same spot where the Gilad Schalit tent stood for three and a half years, until it was dismantled in October when the kidnapped soldier returned. Last Wednesday, Schalit visited the activists with his father Noam for about ten minutes.
Thirty-year-old Alemitu Ferebe, who lives in Ashkelon with her four-year-old daughter, was the galvanizing force behind the protest tent.
“I want her to have a good future; I want her to have confidence and pride. If I don’t worry about her, I will not have done my responsibility,” she said in reference to her daughter.
Ferebe said the municipality made getting the permit for the tent almost impossible, and then only approved them for three days. But the activists said they won’t budge until concrete steps are made in the fight against racism.
Ferebe broadly outlined the activists’ goals as four-fold: improving education, employment and housing for members of the Ethiopian community, as well as improving rights forkessim, Ethiopian spiritual leaders who don’t have the same recognition as rabbis.
Last week, the activists petitioned the Jerusalem District Court to allow them to stay in their protest tent, and they are currently awaiting the judge’s decision. Their central location seems to be working: The small group of activists has met with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, the director of his office, and Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat.
The Jerusalem municipality said the mayor supported their struggle and wanted to find a balance “between protecting the area for the needs of the protestors and protecting the area for the needs of public space in the city.”
Many pedestrians passing by the tent have trouble understanding what exactly the activists are demanding.
“My mother came here in 1951 from Iraq, after my father died, with seven children on her own, and we lived on rations and egg powder,” one woman, who declined to give her name, told Tagani.
“We’re also black, I’m lighter than you, but I’m still black,” she told him. “It wasn’t easy but we succeeded; we did it by work and not by charity.”
This attitude, shared by some of the older Jews of North African descent who pass by the tent, is frustrating for Tagani.
“So where are all of you now?” he asked the woman. “Why am I in this struggle alone?” “This is not the private problem of one person; it’s the problem of all of us, as a community,” he said.
Both Ferebe and Tagani placed great importance on their staying in the tent, which is in a visible and high-traffic area, not to mention symbolic location near the Prime Minister’s Residence.
“Until now, we have felt like the backyard of Israeli society,” said Tagani. “We brought the backyard to the front yard. Every day you pass, we’re saying, ‘We’re still here; we need equality; we need to take care of this thing that hasn’t been taken care of in the past 30 years.’”

Hurt And Abused Children In Ethiopia: No Defence, No Support, No Voice

March 20, 2012

“Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God”.1
Almost half the 82 million2 population of Ethiopia are under 14 years of age, the children of a new time. Throughout the World the call for justice, freedom and unity is being made loud and clear. It is overwhelmingly the young who cry out, often in pain and anguish, in determination to build a fair and decent world. The 40 million plus children in Ethiopia are the hope and promise of this wonderful country, in their hands lies the possibilities of a new day and a just future.
The African Child Policy Forum (ACPF) report, ‘Violence Against Children in Ethiopia, in Their Own Words’, states; “A large proportion of children, our beloved children, are victims of violence everyday around the world. This is especially true in Ethiopia, where approximately 99 percent of the children polled in this study (of 1750) said they had encountered violence in their home, school or community.“3 This estimate if representative of the country at large is staggering and indicates the magnitude of the problem. The issue is of the utmost urgency and should be of primary importance to the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), who reassuringly state, “The welfare of children is a priority concern for the Ethiopian Government.”4 On the face of it at least, this sounds like good news for the great numbers of suffering children in Ethiopia.

Criminal Neglect

Illegal exploitation, violence, intimidation and cruelty, the inhumane treatment many children in Ethiopia experience daily at the hands of parents, family members, and teachers, within a society that both adores and ignores the child, professes love whist committing abuse. An umbrella of ignorance and denial casts a dark and painful shadow over the lives of Ethiopia’s little ones, “knowledge of the nature and extent of the problem of violence against children remains limited” (ACPF). Abuse, justified often as cultural behaviour, denying the reality of the pain and suffering of many children.
Prime Minister of Ethiopia Meles Zenawi.
Prime Minister of Ethiopia Meles Zenawi.
The Ethiopian government, in the form of the(EPRDF), led by Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, have signed and ratified The Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). The UNCRC is “a universally agreed set of non-negotiable standards and obligations. These basic human rights set minimum entitlements and freedoms that should be respected by governments. They are founded on respect for the dignity and worth of each individual, egardless of race, colour, gender, language, religion, opinions, origins, wealth, birth status or ability and therefore apply to every human being everywhere.”5
International treatise signed and laws written into the Federal Criminal Code by the Ethiopian Government are clear and firm, to the letter. The law though remains unenforced and indolent, allowing the plague of abuse to continue, grow and intensify. “Ethiopia is not implementing her obligations under the international conventions relating to the rights of children.” (ACPF) By ratifying the UNCRC the Ethiopian authorities, entered into a binding legal agreement in accordance with international law. They agreed to safeguard the children of their country, to protect them from harm and to put an end to the widespread physical abuse, as well as, child prostitution, rape and incest. Violence and abuse within the home the school and the wider community. Violence and abuse throughout the beautiful and to many of its people, sacred land.
The children whose moral and most basic human rights are being trampled on, know well the crime and neglect of the government and those in whose care fate has placed them, over 60% of “children who were interviewed said that they considered violence against children as a human rights issue.” (ACPF).

Home Sweet Home

Having worked with disadvantaged, vulnerable children in Addis Ababa we witnessed first hand many cases of child abuse, physical, emotional, and mental/psychological and quickly became aware of the scale of the problem, “children regularly face humiliating physical punishment and psychological abuse at home, in school and in the community-at-large,” where “children [in the study] acknowledged the prevalence of sexual violence” (ACPF) Abuse within the home, at the hands of parents, grandparents and extended family members, often goes unreported and unpunished. “The government does not take strict measures against child abusers. Even those that are doing terrible things like rape and abduction are treated leniently. Also parents go unpunished in most cases even when they do terrible things to their children.” Focus group participants aged 10 to 18 years old,
The ACPF study found that, “the primary settings for physical and psychological violence were at home and in school.” Violence towards children within the family is endemic in Ethiopia. “Physical and humiliating punishment is a violation of children’s fundamental human rights. The violence needs to end,”(ACPF) however “there is no [Federal] law [specifically] against corporal punishment at home.”(ACPF) “Provisions in the Civil Code oppress the child and place it under dictatorial parental authority. The code, for example, empowers the guardian “to inflict light bodily punishment on the minor for the purpose of ensuring the latter’s education” (Article 267/2)” (SSBB) The Federal penal code “is [here] in “direct conflict with Article 19.1 of the CRC.”  This is immaterial from a legal standpoint as Ethiopia is compelled under the UNCRC to uphold the rights of the child, however in not making violence in the home an offence under Federal law, the EPRDF is endorsing abuse in homes throughout Ethiopia.
The home, a place where children should feel safe and secure, loved and cared for, is all too often the crucible of violence where the child is the victim, the servant the violated, “I know a child who was brought here by her relatives for education in my neighbourhood. She is about 13-years-old. But she has never been sent to school. She works every day. One Saturday I was bored and wanted to play with the girl. I went to her house. I called her name but no answer came. Then I heard a whisper in one of the rooms. I opened the door and saw her in the bed with the father of the family.” Rape within the family and community is widespread, “The study found that fathers, stepfathers, and sometimes close relatives, such as uncles, sexually abused children” 6 it is a hidden subject, barely utter able, a vulgar violation, abhorrent and shameful.
Trust, that bedrock of relationship, shattered.
Domestic violence is often the cause of extended hardship and exploitation. A son or daughter suffering repeated abuse at the hands of a parent or other family member, having nobody to turn to for support, and feeling hopeless and alone, turns often to the street. Escape even into the frightening and dangerous environment of street life is seen as a sanctuary from the violence at home. “When physical punishment becomes intolerable, a child may flee from home, a study on street children in four major Ethiopian towns found that family conflict is the second most common reason for children living on the street,” (ACPF) A girl on the street all to often means prostitution and for boys, criminality, alcohol/drugs and further violence become the cocktail of childhood, poured out at the hands of family and community, sanctioned by the State, who allows the abuse to continue.
In the ACPF study we find disturbing examples of abuse, as given by children themselves: “In our community, most parents beat their children”. 13-year-old boy. “My father used to beat me after tying my neck together with my leg.” 14-year-old boy, “I became a street boy because of the beatings at home.” 12-year-old boy. The following incident was something we came across “I know a man who burnt his stepdaughter with a hot iron.” 14-year-old boy. In the case brought to our attention it was a 12-year-old boy that was burnt by his Grandmother, for the heinous crime of being late home from school.
Whilst there is clearly a responsibility within the family to put an end to the barbaric treatment many children are subjected to, the burden of responsibility, moral and legal under international law falls ultimately to the Government. “State Parties shall take all appropriate legislative, administrative, social and educational measures to protect the child from all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation, including sexual abuse, while in the care of parent(s), legal guardian(s) or any other person who has the care of the child.” Article 19 UNCRC. It is criminal neglect by the ruling FPRDF, in breach of its Internationally binding agreements that allows the suffering of so many children to carry on.
1. Matthew 19, verse 14 King James Bible
3. Africa Child Policy Forum. Violence Against Children in Ethiopia: In Their Words report. (ACPF)
4. Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia Country Response to the Questionnaire on Violence Against Children By The Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs. (ERQVAC)…/responses/Ethiopia.pdf
5. Unicef,
6. Sticks stones & broken bones. Violence against children in Ethiopia. (SSBB) Save The Children Sweden

Ethiopia Community To Hold Another Demonstration Demanding Saudis Release Ethiopian Christian Prisoners ICC,


Christian Prisoners

ICC, Ethiopian Community To Hold Another Demonstration Demanding
Saudis Release Ethiopian Christian Prisoners
Washington, D.C. (March 19, 2012) – International Christian Concern (ICC) and the Ethiopian community in Washington D.C. will be holding another public protest demanding Saudi Arabia release 35 Ethiopian Christians arrested for praying at a private home on December 15. The protest will be held March 26, at 11 a.m. in front of the Saudi Arabian Embassy located at 601 New Hampshire Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C. 20037.
The Saudis put us in the same cells with convicted murders. The convicted murders could hurt us and we are concerned about our safety. Please continue pressuring the Saudis to release us,” said one of the prisoners, speaking to ICC from Briman jail in Jeddah.
The prisoners have not yet been formally charged with any crime. The Saudi officials have referred to the Christians as ‘non-believers’ and ‘animals’ during interrogations.
The Saudi Embassy and the Saudi government are not taking our demands seriously. Instead of releasing the innocent Ethiopians, the government of Saudi Arabia is providing us with different excuses to continue to keep them in jail,” said Kebadu Belachew, an Ethiopian-American human rights activist and one of the organizers of the rally.
ICC’s Jonathan Racho said, “The prisoners are telling us that their situation is getting worse due to lack of proper medical attention and healthy food. It is outrageous that the government of Saudi Arabia holds the Christians indefinitely. We urge our supporters to join us in the protest. We must put pressure on the Saudis to release the prisoners.”
Please sign this petition asking the Saudi Arabian government to release the Christian prisoners.
Call the Saudi Arabian Embassy in your country and ask them to release the prisoners.
United States: (+1) 202 342 3800
Canada: (+1) 613 237 4100
United Kingdom: (+44) 207 9173-000
Australia: (+61) 2 6250 7000
Germany: (+49) 30 88 92 50
France: (+33) 1 56 79 4000

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Maid in Lebanon abuse video kills herself - Middle East - Al Jazeera English

Suicide comes days after footage emerged of Ethiopian woman being violently dragged on Beirut street by male employer.
Last Modified: 14 Mar 2012 16:03
Video of Dechasa being abused outside the Ethiopian embassy sparked outrage in Lebanon [YouTube]
An Ethiopian domestic worker in Lebanon who was filmed being physically abused in public has committed suicide, local media have reported.
The video, first aired by Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation International (LBCI) last week, caused outrage by showing a man abusing Alem Dechasa as she cried on a street outside the Ethiopian embassy in Beirut.
The man was shown grabbing Dechasa and telling her, "get into the car" while she screamed out, "no, no, no". Another man then assisted in dragging Dechasa into the back of a car as she struggled to resist.
Asaminew Debelie Bonssa, Ethiopian general consul in Lebanon, told The Daily Star newspaper in Beirut that Dechasa committed suicide by hanging herself early on Wednesday morning at a psychiatric hospital where she had been taken after the incident.
Bonssa told The Daily Star that he had seen Dechasa on Saturday in the hospital and that she was making plans to return to Ethiopia.
'Larger issue'
After the video was aired, LBCI used the car’s license plate number to identify the man.
“[The man] tried to justify his act by denying that he beat her. He stressed that the worker tried to commit suicide more than once, and that he tried dealing with her humanely, but she refused to go to the airport for deportation,” LBCI reported on its website.
Activists in Lebanon, outraged by the video, posted the man's contact information on internet social media sites and called for action against him.
Reports of domestic worker abuse are widespread, with many allegedly locked in employers’ homes.
Rola Abimourched, programme co-ordinator at KAFA (Enough) Violence and Exploitation, told Al Jazeera that Dechasa's case may increase scrutiny into the problem.
"This case may indicate the larger issue of migrant domestic workers' vulnerability to abuse in Lebanon, which puts the whole system in question. Namely, the sponsorship system which ties the domestic worker to one employer and does not guarantee her basic human rights," Abimourched said.
"We hope that an investigation into her death will determine what happened."

Ethiopian dictator sells 45'000 Ethiopian fertile girls and land in million hectares to Saudi Arabia

Ethiopian dictator sells 45'000 Ethiopians girls to Saudi Arabia. Even after what happened in Libya and Lebanon the regime of  Melese Zenawie sells the Ethiopian fertile land  and fertile girls to the demographically morbid society . The Birth rate is diminishing  and there are more male with few female in the country.
Read the article between the line from the recent  Saudi Gazette ...

JEDDAH – Ethiopia is facilitating procedures to send 45,000 maids to the Kingdom every month, an informed source at the Ethiopian Embassy in Saudi Arabia has said.
Ethiopian housemaids have been high in demand after the Kingdom stopped recruiting housemaids from four countries, including Kenya, because the Kingdom has been unable to reach a satisfactory agreement with these countries, Asharq Al-Awsat reported Wednesday.
Noor Adeen Masfa, Vice Consul for Economic Affairs in Jeddah, said his department and committees from the Ethiopian Ministry of Labor met several times to facilitate the travel of housemaids to the Kingdom after they are properly trained in Ethiopia.
“We decided to finish procedures of 1,500 housemaids due to the increasing demand for Ethiopian housemaids by Saudi families. Ethiopian housemaids are trained well on Saudi customs and traditions, besides the percentage of runaways is low,” he said.
Unavailability of sufficient flights from Addis Ababa has also caused the delay in the travel of a large number of housemaids.
Some Saudi families have complained that their Ethiopian housemaids left their households after coming to the Kingdom to work illegally because they get lucrative offers from private companies and brokers. Masfa said this matter was studied and discussed. Deterring penalties will be put on housemaids who do that, he said.
“Some Saudi families employ housemaids illegally and pay them SR2,000 a month. That’s why many housemaids run away,” he added.
Masfa said the Ministry of Labor in Ethiopia is considering to put conditions in the contracts to allow housemaids use a cell phone and talk to their families and the consulate in the Kingdom.
“Saudi recruitment offices have welcomed this idea,” he said. – SG __

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Ethiopians Against the Deportation of the Ethiopian refugees from Norway Washington DC - YouTube

Ethiopians Against the Deportation of the Ethiopian refugees from Norway Washington DC - YouTube: ""

'via Blog this'

Maid in Lebanon abuse video kills herself - World news - Mideast/N. Africa -

updated 10 minutes ago
An Ethiopian housemaid in Lebanon committed suicide on Wednesday, Ethiopia's consul general said, a week after video footage of her being dragged along the streets by a man and forced into a car sparked national outrage.
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"I went to the hospital today and they said that she hanged herself at 6 o'clock this morning," Asaminew Debelie Bonssa told Reuters, adding that the maid, Alem Dechasa, had been taken to hospital in order to recover from her forcible abduction.
"I am deeply shocked. I went to see her yesterday and I was told that she was ok," said Bonssa.
Last week, Lebanese television channel LBCI sparked nationwide indignation after broadcasting footage of a man violently dragging Dechasa along a street in Beirut and screaming at her to "get into the car."
Another man was then seen helping to force Dechasa into the back of the car while she squirmed and screamed "no, no, no."
On Friday, the Lebanese Cabinet condemned the violent incident and asked for an investigation into the matter.
After the video was aired, LBCI used the car's number plate number to identify one of the men.
Outraged by the video, activists in Lebanon posted the man's contact information on internet social media sites and called for action against him.
Reports of domestic worker abuse are rife in this small Mediterranean state.
The hospital was not immediately available for comment.