Where: UNB Art Centre, Memorial Hall, 9 Bailey Drive, UNB Fredericton
In the past few weeks, after Malalai Joya’s return from a successful international tour and interview with a local TV station in Kabul, the warlords and criminals in the Afghan Parliament and Senate, tried hard to silence Joya and kick her out of the Parliament.
Human rights organizations from Indonesia and Canada today called on the Government of Indonesia to make public its Presidential fact-finding team’s report on the murder of human rights leader Munir Said Thalib and strengthen the ongoing police investigation. Rights & Democracy and other members of a coalition of Canadian human rights organizations working on Indonesia joined the Indonesian Committee of Action in Solidarity with Munir (KASUM) in calling for these measures. Their call comes on the occasion of a one-week visit to Canada by Munir’s wife, Suciwati, who is seeking Canadian support for her efforts to identify those involved in her husband’s murder and see them prosecuted.
In 1954, the most powerful men in the world met for the first time under the auspices of the Dutch royal crown and the Rockefeller family in the luxurious Hotel Bilderberg of the small Dutch town of Oosterbeck. For an entire weekend they debated the future of the world. When it was over, they decided to meet once every year to exchange ideas and analyze international affairs. They named themselves the Bilderberg Club. Since then, they have gathered yearly in a luxurious hotel somewhere in the world to decide the future of humanity.
They are almost entirely men and include New Brunswick’s Frank McKenna.
Last week, amid much pomp and circumstance, Haitian born Governor General Michaëlle Jean graced the province with her presence.
This week Euvonie Georges-Auguste, a Haitian women’s rights activist and literacy co-ordinator, will speak in Fredericton.
Reinstate Malalai Joya! Afghan MP and Women’s Rights Activist Suspended by Canadian Supported Warlord Government
Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s visit to Afghanistan comes just one day after Malalai Joya, an outspoken women’s rights activist and Member of the Afghan Parliament, was suspended. The pretext for her suspension was her description of the Afghan Parliament as no better than a ‘zoo’. But it was clearly aimed at silencing her criticism of the Afghanistan government.
During his surprise visit, Harper said that Canada is bringing, “the light of freedom and democracy, of human rights and the rule of law,” to the people of Afghanistan, but most Afghans’ true experience is violence and misery at the hands of the warlord-dominated government.
Joya’s suspension speaks volumes about the nature of the “democracy” we are bringing to the country. Silencing critics and intimidating or killing political opposition figures is common practice for the government that Canada continues to support.
Joya has been a thorn in the side of the NATO-supported government by being an outspoken critic of the human rights abuses of the warlords that dominate the parliament of Afghanistan. In the elections of May 2005, more than 60per cent of those elected to parliament were from known warlord groups, many of whom are responsible for war crimes committed during the civil war from 1992 to 1996. An international campaign to have the warlords held to account failed when the parliament decided to offer immunity for all past war crimes.
Joya has been threatened and attacked for her stance. In 2006, President Hamid Karzai cut her security funding, proving that women’s rights are not a concern for his government despite assertions to the contrary from the Government of Canada.
In an interview with the Guardian, Joya said: “When I speak in parliament they threaten me. In May they beat me by throwing bottles of water at me and they shouted, ‘Take her and rape her.’ These men who are in power, never have they apologized for their crimes that they committed in the wars, and now, with the support of the US, they continue with their crimes in a different way. That is why there is no fundamental change in the situation of women.”
The Canadian Peace Alliance is calling on member groups and supporters to send messages to the Afghanistan’s Ambassador to Canada, Omar Samad, and to Peter MacKay, Minister of Foreign Affairs calling for Malalai to be reinstated.
Afghanistan’s Ambassador to Canada, Omar Samad
246 Queen Street, Suite 400
Ottawa, Ontario K1P 5E4
Tel: (613) 563-4223 / 65
Fax: (613) 563-4962
Peter MacKay, Minister of Foreign Affairs
509-S Centre Block
House of Commons
Olivia Ward’s article in the Sunday Star is excellent in pointing out that the United States blockaded Haiti for six decades after French slave masters were ousted by popular revolt. The U.S. was at the time a slave-holding nation itself.
That history gives context to America’s readiness to intervene in Haitian affairs even now.
The UN presence in Haiti is consistent with American policy. Far from liberating the people of Cité Soleil, UN forces have terrorized and killed civilians in an attempt to root out supporters of the only popular political party, Lavalas. The UN insists wrongly and knowingly that it is instead arresting gang leaders.
On Feb. 15 the UN News Service published an article stating that UN forces had transformed a former gang leader’s headquarters into a free medical clinic. This was false and on being questioned, the UN’s head of media relations there was forced to acknowledge that MINUSTAH (United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti) had only handed out bottles of water and offered free medical checkups for one day following 72-hour mass arrest operations – the UN routinely arrests people without warrant in Haiti.
Most shameful for us is that Canada helped to give the cover of legitimacy to the overthrow of Jean-Bertrand Aristide in February 2004 by participating in the coup orchestrated by Washington and Paris.
Olivia Ward walked gingerly through her report on Haiti. For example, she wrote, “President Aristide was ousted in 2004.” A more precise rewrite would be: “The democratically elected president of Haiti was kidnapped and escorted out of Haiti by the U.S. Marines while Canadian soldiers secured the airport.”
The overthrow of Jean-Bertrand Aristide was planned by Washington, France and Canada in the Canadian capital under the name The Ottawa Initiative. Another blemish on Canada’s peacekeeping record.
Two female union and women’s rights activists will be in Toronto on May 25 to give your readers their first-hand report.