Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Jailed Students Suffering from Deteriorating Health

The All Burma Federation of Student Unions provides us with the grim picture of how the military junta of Burma relates with the student leaders the latter has detained and continually neglected in prison.

Please read the statement that the ABFSU Foreign Affairs Committee has released last April 25.

Student Political Prisoners in a number of prisons in Burma are badly suffering from deteriorating health, because of poor prison conditions, poor medical treatment and the prolonged length of stay in the prisons. Since all Student Political Prisoners are not allowed to read or write, according to prison rules and some are systematically isolated from the outside world, they become seriously depressed and incur other health problems. This is particularly in the case of those who were transferred to prisons quite a distance away from their homes and their families.

A leading student in the 1996 student demonstration, Ye Kyaw Swa, is one who has been reported as being suffering from mental health problems. This has been caused by the serious depressive state in Myingyan prison, in upper Burma. He was sentenced to 19 years imprisonment and hasn't been provided with adequate medical treatment, even though he has been suffering from serious depression, since 2004. Another student, Thet Naung Soe, who made individual protests in front of Rangoon City Hall, in 2002, was also suffering from mental health problems and skin diseases, according to the report. Kyaw Linn Htun, who was arrested in 2004 for student union activism, and is now in Insein prison, is also reported to be suffering from severe depression. The three have been denied adequate medical treatment, even at the behest of their friends and families to the prison authority.

Thet Win Aung, a leading member of the ABFSU, Myo Min Zaw, a leading student in the 1998 student demonstrations and Nay Linn Soe, a union activist, were all reported to be suffering serious mental health problems. Many other students are also suffering from skin diseases, malaria, and dysentery, in prisons.

Min Naing, In Charge of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the All Burma Federation of Student Unions, said, “We are seriously concerned about the situation of those students, who have been imprisoned because of their commitment to, and the best interests of, their country. They peacefully practiced civil rights and citizen rights, for the cause of their country. They are not criminals. They were wrongly arrested. The continued arrest of such students is a kind of treason and a danger to the future of Burma. This is especially the case of students who love their country and have done their best for what he or she thought for the nation. All Student Political Prisoners have to be released if the military government really wants a national reconciliation and a democratization process in the country.”

Monday, April 25, 2005

Pakistani Students Resist Musharraf's Dictatorship

The situation in Pakistan is getting from worse to worst for political activists and workers after a great strike on March 31 in 82% area of Pakistan, mainly in three provinces of the NWFP, the SINDH, the BALOCHISTAN.

The successful strike called by the Pakistan Oppressed Nations Movement led brought General Musharraf to arrest more than 100 political workers and members of the party and the alliance.

He further spread the political repression across Pakistan by ordering the High Court of the state to issue bans on political actions and movements in educational institutions. Consequently, the High Court has ordered universities, colleges and schools to strike out from their list students who are or have been involved in political actions.

Police forces have likewise been deployed in universities making them virtually a military ground. More than 250 policemen are in Quetta University, one of the largest government universities, and the only Medical College in “our Province and City”.

Mr. Ahmed Jan, the Central First Secretary of Pakistani Students Organization, and Kabeer Afghan, member of Central Committee, and four others were arrested by the University Police.

This recent event speaks well of the atrocity and the magnitude of political repression our government inflicts on the students and people of Pakistan. The illegal arrest and detention of our officers will further intensify our struggle to resist the ban and all forms of reaction from the state.

The Pakistani Student Organization and all Pakistani students shall continue resisting the dictatorship of General Musharraf.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

50 Labor activists Protest over Human Rights Violation in Nepal

50 labour activists in Thailand held a protest action in front the Nepali Embassy in Bangkok, Thailand on April 23. The photo shows representative from the protesters forward the protest letter to representative from the Embassy. The King Gynendra declared the emergency state in the early of February 2005 and issued house arrest for several party leaders in Nepal. Posted by Hello

1500 HK people protest over China interpretation of Basic Law

UPDATE: After the head shaved off by the members of Hong Kong Federation of Students (HKFS) last Thursday, this Sunday the Civil Human Rights Front organized a 1500 protesters marched through the Central and shopping malls to protest over the National People Council (NPC) of China to interprete the Basic Law.

Most of the protesters followed the calls by the organizer by wore the black shirt to protest the thrid time of the interpretation of Basic Laws since the handover of Hong Kong from the British to the Chinese. They lost the confident with the high degree of the autonomy and the rule of law in Hong Kong. They brought the baloons in black to show the death of the rule of law.

For our readers information, I had picked the article from the Reuters,

The controversy erupted last month after unpopular Hong Kong leader Tung
suddenly resigned, citing health reasons.

Although the city's constitution says any chief executive should
serve five years, Beijing has said Tung's successor will serve just the two
years remaining in Tung's term, until mid-2007.

Sources say interim leader Donald Tsang has secured Beijing's assurance
that a China-appointed panel will select him for the post in a limited election
on July 10, but Chinese officials want to limit him to a two-year term to test
his loyalties.

Critics, however, have quickly accused Beijing of trying to bend the
constitution and two people have challenged the decision in court, sparking
fears that the July selection might be derailed and result in a political

The government, which says it fears it would take too long for
the lawsuits to wind their way through the courts, has asked China's parliament
for a definitive interpretation of the term of office of the next leader.

Once again, the democratic movement in Hong Kong faces the challenge on how to move to the next step as the interpretation already been carried this afternoon in Beijing. Ast the interim Chief Executive, Donald Tsang has a very high popularity among the people, the democrats in Hong Kong seems lost their target like Tung before.

How about the civil society? Any further action by the Civil Human Rights Front after the turnout of the protester was not that encouraging compare to the previous mobilization? Let's us work closely with our members in HKFS to find out a way out from the bottom neck!

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Aliran: Compensate "ISA 7" for wasted year

UPDATE: Following the court acquited the ISA 7 case, different calls from the civil society in the Malaysia. One of the publication in Malaysia, Aliran, who publish monthly political magazine. They congratulate the students who stand firm in their principle even the Education Minister reinstated the students need to apologise.

Here are some part of the statement from the Aliran.

Four years of their lives have been wasted thanks to the universities' high-handed action in suspending them and to the police for taking them to court without just cause. They had been punished even before they could be found guilty - and now the court has thrown out the case. Such high-handed action by the authorities will only bolster demands for the Universities and University Colleges Act to be abolished.

We demand that the students be reinstated in their respective varsities without condition. Furthermore, the authorities must adequately compensate the students. The compensation should be large enough to deter similar actions by the authorities based on flimsy and frivolous grounds. This would also force the police to be more responsible in their actions.

Besides Aliran, the People's Voice or Suaram in her statement "Final Justice for ISA 7" also demanded the government to allocate full scholarship to the ISA 7. They deserve for the rights to access the education. Due to this unlawful charge, the students were denied to access to the university.

In light of gross injustice meted upon the students, we urge the following: -
1) That the universities reinstate the seven students;
2) That the Ministry of Education compensate the students with full scholarships to all the seven students to the courses and universities of their choice; and
3) That the universities, the Minister of Education and the Royal Malaysian Police Force offer a public apology to all seven students.

Even the Attorney General is given 10 days to consider whether to appeal the court's decision. As the victims of the Universities and University Colleges Act, the campaign to call for compensation might be a way to stop such kind of repression. It also can build up the awareness of the people about such draconian laws really need to be abolish.

Friday, April 22, 2005

HKFS Protest Against Interpretation Law by NPC!

On April 21, the Hong Kong Federation of Student (HKFS), the ASA's member organized a shave hair protest in front the Central Government Office. Picture showed the representative from the HKFS, Erikson send the protest letter to the government representative. Behind them are the different leaders from the HKFS.

Due to the election of the New Chief Executive of Hong Kong have some uncertainties, the current Chief Executive, Donald Tsang submit the proposal to call the NPC for the interpretation of the Basic Law to clarify the term of the Chief Executive.

Such an action caused the worry of the Hong Kong people especially the autonomy and the rule of Law in Hong Kong. This interpretation will be the third time since the hand over from British Colonial to the Mainland China.

Coming Sunday on 24 April will have a mass protest to against the interpretation of the Basic Law. Estimation of the organizer, Civil Human Rights Front that there will be about 3,000 protesters.
Posted by Hello

Former ISA detainees support ISA 7!

Three former ISA detainees, Tian Chua, Mohd. Ezam Mohd Noor and Hishamuddin Rais, who presented in the court to support the ISA 7. All of the accused were freed this morning.

More update from Malaysiakini about the responses from different students and leaders. One of the seven accused Helman said,

We were surprised as we did not expect all of us to be freed. Now that we have been punished for four years long before we were found guilty, this will strengthen the argument to abolish the Universities and University Colleges Act (UUCA). I urge the Higher Education Ministry to reinstate us in our respective varsities without conditions.”Posted by Hello

ISA 7 free!

The Magistrate Court acquits the ISA 7 students due to the prosecutor failed to provide enough evidents. The photo showed the students gathered outside the court to give solidarity support to the ISA 7. Posted by Hello

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Are they terrorists or friends of people?

These are the names that King Gyanendra of Nepal has associated with the word terrorist:

Thakur Gairay, Yagyaraj Sunuwar, Rajan Rai, Urmila Karki, Khagendra Khanal, Bijaya Rai, Ramkumari Jhakri, Janakraj Awasti, Kishore Bikram Mala, Mohan Gautam, Ushakiran Timilsina, Umesh Sharma, Bhakta Kumar Lama, Yagyaraj Pant, Yagyaraj Dhungana, Prakash Neupani, Chinranjivi Poudel, Paruel Chetri, Debnarayan Prarami, Parmeshwar Ghimire, Sudhir Shah and Govinda Gautam.

Likewise, these are the names of student leaders from the All Nepal National Free Students Union (ANNFSU), one of the largest student organizations in Nepal and member of the Asian Students Association, who are in jail right now.

Terrorism, in the king’s twisted definition, appears to be the struggle for the reinstallation of democracy and just peace in Nepal.

The ANNFSU has a long history of struggle for leading the youth and students movement in Nepal and has been greatly involved in the struggle for liberation in Nepal. Established in 1965, the union has broke the autocratic monarchic rule of Panchayat and successfully won the campaign for his ouster in 1990.

Once again, the ANNFSU is intensifying its fight for justice and peace in Nepal. But they are not alone as the ASA and the international communities are with them and the Nepalese people in their struggle.

The India-Pakistan Negotiations on Kashmir: For or Against the Kashmiri?

Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf is now in India for another round of the Kashmir negotiations with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Doubts and questions however flooded the talks: Will it be aimed towards providing self-determination to the Kashmiri people? Or just an arms battle? A pull-out of military troops? Or merely for show?

We have one question to ask: Should there be any negotiations at all?

The India-Pakistan conflict on Kashmir have caused more than half a million lives. Since 1947, the debate, the conflict and the negotiations have placed the lives of Kashmiri people on the line, endangering their lives while perpetually ignoring their voice and their stance on the issue.

Such peace negotiations would just simply be a popularity show and campaign for both Manmohan and Musharraf with the Kashmiri people’s aspirations and struggle undermined. For the people of Kashmir themselves can determine whether they want to merge with India or with Pakistan or whether they want to merge at all.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Reflection of the Global Anti Poverty Movement

There was an interesting article titled with "Personal view: Rock-star economics are not helping poor
, written by Franklin Cudjoe, Director of the Centre for Humane Education (Imani).

In his article, he mentioned about the following,

But the real problem is not the IMF, World Bank or "rigged" trade rules. The problem lies with us as Africans and especially our leaders, to improve our own wellbeing, and to encourage economic growth through political and institutional reforms.

The solution to all that ails us is not aid, debt relief or "fair trade". It is to adopt institutions to harness the
entrepreneurial spirit that exists in every African country, to enable Africans to trade with each other and
anyone else in the world.

I think his views can become a reflection for the campaign against the globalization. As ASA always emphasize in the public gathering and meeting, the local cohorts of the WTO, IMF, WB and other international institution are the target of the anti people agenda. Therefore, we have to stress on this matters.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Anti-Japan protest in Hong Kong, what do you think?

12,000 Hong Kong people marched on the street to protest against the Japanese Militarism for their whitewashing about the history of the WWII. Besides, they rejected the Japanese to become the permanent members of the UN Security Council. Posted by Hello

Friday, April 15, 2005

Women Training Camp marked another milestone!

UPDATE: Women hold half the sky!

The Asian Students Association (ASA) together with Malaysian Youth and Students Democratic Movement (DEMA) held the South East Asia Women Training Camp at New Era College, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from March 27 to April 2, 2005. Attended by 25 participants (15 local and 10 foreign), the women training camp was warmly hosted by the 14 local young and lively volunteers.

The training camp was successfully come out with the Solidarity Network for Young Women (Solidarity NOW!). It's a significant event for both the ASA and the DEMA because it began the international liason inside Malaysia especially for the youth and student groups in Malaysia. As a movement building organization, the ASA always bear the organizing work in the first priority.

For the participants, the camp not only provide them with the current analysis of the situation in the region, also the criticism to the globalization. The program in the camp are useful for theparticipants to build up their capacity in their organizing works. It empower the participants with all kind of skills to organize, campaign and initiate project.

There were participants from Cambodia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Aceh and Hong Kong. They were invited to address their concerns and exchange among the participants. With the conflict situation in the region, many of the women are the victims of the war and domestic violence. The local participants also benefit from the experiences that shared by the foreign participants.

With the national religious of Malaysia is Islam, there are many Muslim women participate in the training camp as well. There were several insight and exchange among the participants especially on the patriachal and male dominated religious community. It's a positive starting point for the participants to understand more about the religious perspective on the women.

Finally, with the Solidarity NOW! and the inputs from different resource persons, all the participants also agreed to work on the WTO issues. Due to many of the participants are not familiar to the WTO, the awareness building campaign will be carried out in different countries. At the same time, the ASA will also coordinate with the Solidarity NOW! in the mobilization of the women to the WTO Ministerial Conference in Hong Kong end of 2005.

It's a successful one. The seeds of the movement been plant in the region. Nurturing will be our common responsibility!