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Berlusconi ordered to do community service

Al Jazeera - Tue, 04/15/2014 - 6:42am
Italian court orders former prime minister to do a year of community service, limit his movements and respect a curfew.

Can philanthropic oligarchy nurture economic justice?

Open Democracy - Tue, 04/15/2014 - 6:03am
div class=field field-summary div class=field-items div class=field-item odd pWill NGOs and foundations ever be able to look at their moneyed benefactors and challenge how they generated their wealth? The national correspondent of NonProfit Quarterly takes on our series on the role of money in the transformation of society.nbsp;/p /div /div /div pimg src=http://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/psqKuClKztevW8XFxJdOP4ZwRVlexzhfOtVSXqZqfh4/mtime:1397489872/files/Money-watching.jpg alt= width=460 //pp class=image-captionCredit: a href=http://www.shutterstock.com/gallery-72938p1.html target=_blankLane V. Erickson/anbsp;/nbsp;Shutterstock.com. All rights reserved./p pMichael Edwards has worked in and around big money, having been the director of the Governance and Civil Society program at the Ford Foundation after positions with the World Bank, Oxfam-GB, Save the Children, and more. In his distinctive web magazine, emTransformation/em, with its tag line, “where love meets social justice,” Edwards recently completed a series of articles on the simultaneously positive and pernicious role of money in the transformation of society and, explicitly, in the contours of civil society./p pThe culminating piece was his own essay, “a href=http://opendemocracy.net/transformation/michael-edwards/it%E2%80%99s-time-to-put-money-out-of-its-misery target=_blankIt’s Time to Put Money out of Its Misery/a,” which held out a hopeful perspective that money could be corralled to work for social change even though, as noted in the series’ other articles, including a href=http://opendemocracy.net/transformation/steve-consilvio/buy-low-sell-low-secret-to-healthier-economy target=_blankone by small business owner Steve Consilvio/a, “‘Growing the economy’ or ‘market-based solutions’ actually make things worse…more growth produces more disparities to scale…Greed is not a virtue.”/p pEdwards asks, “Is money part of the problem or part of the solution?” My question would be, is it money itself or the ownership or control of money? He suggests that part of the answer lies in thinking “outside the box” to change the principles, structures, and behaviours that undergird inequality and poverty./p p“To do this we have break free from the limitations of money as we know it, and embark on a different journey - to invent new systems and institutions that start from another set of premises about ownership, value and control. To ‘think outside the box,’ it helps to be outside the box.”/p pBut Edwards fully understands the downside: the problem of corporatization. “Even when attempts are made to change the values and principles that underpin this system,” he acknowledges, “they can be easily coerced or co-opted by traditional, commercial interests. Hence, Avis buys (the world’s largest car-sharing network) Zipcar as part of a trend towards the re-privatization of the sharing economy, and of other innovations that are trying to break free from the constraints of existing financial and economic structures.”/p pIs it possible to create successful new systems and institutions that do not simply get absorbed into the bloodless, soulless corporate world? /p pOne aspect of the problem is that funders and nonprofits who depend on corporate funding reflect “the same problems at a smaller scale: inequality, centralized control, and competition,” sometimes in contrast to what they’re trying to achieve. Edwards calls for alternatives to the corporate world – non-profit businesses becoming the norm rather than the exception, “shared decision-making” as the essence of non-profit operations, and funding from a “new breed of funders that don’t rely on inherited wealth, and who put decision-making power in the hands of those who sit at the sharp end of injustice and exploitation.”/p pAdmirable for his social justice ideals, Edwards’ ideas go against the flow of today’s NGOs and funders. Despite their rhetoric of social justice, they are devoted to business principles embedded in a structure of “social enterprise.” Funders are increasingly top-down despite their language of bottom-up, increasingly refusing unsolicited proposals and functioning like operating rather than grant-making foundations. /p pThe experiments promoted by the top foundations, like social impact bonds, increasingly aim to generate wealth for private investors (such as Goldman Sachs) at the expense of resources that are generated and paid out by government. The idea of shared decision-making may be espoused by some grant-makers, but it is an anomaly in foundation practice, especially among those new foundations whose tiny boards of family members reflect the lack of democracy in modern philanthropy./p pCan the dependence of nonprofits on corporate money, or philanthropic institutions that are born from corporate money, really promote the kinds of principles and institutions that truly counter inequality and poverty? /p pWe go to funders like Nike for support of women’s issues while the parent company exploits women in sweatshops in developing countries. We go to foundations linked to banks, such as Bank of America, to promote community development at the very time that banks and other Wall Street institutions draw record profits, foreclose on millions of homeowners, and excise wealth from lower-income communities. /p pWe look to foundations established by pharmaceutical companies, which rank among the largest corporate grant-makers in the nation, while they and other health corporations define healthcare in ways that are dependent on treatment and resources that boost their profits. We argue for improved conditions for America’s working people while we line up for grants from the Wal-Mart Foundation. It’s just the way it is./p pAs Edwards concludes, the key is “to increase democratic ownership and control over money, finance, and decision-making over funding…[it’s] the only way to break the power of elites who have little interest in transforming an economic and political system that has placed them at the top of society.” /p pWill nonprofits be able to look at their moneyed benefactors and effectively and consistently challenge how they generated their wealth? Will they argue for uses of their largesse that undo their control? Will funders support long-term grantees that pledge to undo the individual and corporate wealth that stands behind institutional philanthropy? Or are nonprofits really destined to play at the margins of fundamental social change that will only emerge from community-based solutions wrought by populations that are typically outside of the system of institutional philanthropy, major individual giving, and the parts of civil society that are linked to the big funders?/p pIn political theory, there has long been a debate as to whether political freedom can exist without economic freedom. In civil society, it may be that socially productive uses of money cannot truly be achieved without collective, democratic control of money itself. Edwards seeks a future in which “money becomes a source of personal fulfilment emand/emnbsp;of social justice, of unity and solidarity and joy.” /p pThe answer may lie in releasing money from the control of social justice-oriented philanthropic oligarchs, and putting it under the authentic control of the people and communities social justice philanthropy purports to serve.nbsp;/p p class=image-captionThis article was originally published on a href=https://nonprofitquarterly.org/philanthropy/23969-can-philanthropic-oligarchy-nurture-economic-justice.htmlNonProfit Quarterly/a and is reprinted here with thanks./pfieldset class=fieldgroup group-sideboxslegendSideboxes/legenddiv class=field field-related-stories div class=field-labelRelated stories:nbsp;/div div class=field-items div class=field-item odd a href=/transformation/michael-edwards/it%E2%80%99s-time-to-put-money-out-of-its-miseryIt’s time to put money out of its misery/a /div div class=field-item even a href=/transformation/michael-edwards/money-in-terms-of-social-change-it%E2%80%99s-both-%E2%80%98beauty-and-beast%E2%80%99Money: in terms of social change, it’s both ‘beauty and the beast’/a /div div class=field-item odd a href=/transformation/jennifer-buffett-and-peter-buffett/can-philanthropy-support-transformation-of-societyCan philanthropy support the transformation of society?/a /div div class=field-item even a href=/transformation/nadia-van-der-linde/nothing-about-us-without-us-reversing-power-dynamics-of-philanthrNothing about us, without us: reversing the power dynamics of philanthropy/a /div div class=field-item odd a href=/transformation/sophie-pritchard/philanthropic-power-erosion-edge-fund-alternativePhilanthropic power erosion: the Edge Fund alternative/a /div /div /div /fieldset div class=field field-topics div class=field-labelTopics:nbsp;/div div class=field-items div class=field-item odd Civil society /div div class=field-item even Economics /div div class=field-item odd Equality /div div class=field-item even Ideas /div /div /div div class=field field-rights div class=field-labelRights:nbsp;/div div class=field-items div class=field-item odd Copyright /div /div /div

Justice for asylum seekers: Back to the drawing board, Ms May

Open Democracy - Tue, 04/15/2014 - 5:45am
div class=field field-summary div class=field-items div class=field-item odd pThe British High Court has found the level of support given to asylum seekers ‘flawed’: a political calculation rather than an assessment of what constitutes an essential living need. We must force reason back into the system, says Sile Reynolds./p /div /div /div pstrongemThis article follows an article by Sonal Ghelani on 3/ememrd/ememnbsp;/em/strongemstrongFebruary 2014:nbsp;a href=http://www.opendemocracy.net/5050/sonal-ghelani/government-in-dock-destitution-and-asylum-in-uk target=_blankGovernment in the dock: destitution and asylum in the UK/a. /strong/emem/em/p pspanMany of last week’s UK newspaper /spana href=http://www.channel4.com/news/theresa-may-asylum-support-refugee-action-ruling-high-court target=_blankheadlines/aspannbsp;luxuriated in the accusation that the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Theresa May, is ‘/spana href=http://www.politics.co.uk/news/2014/04/09/high-court-theresa-may-is-irrational target=_blankirrational’/aspan. That’s quite a charge for a person of her standing./span/p pspanThey were referring to the Britishnbsp;/spana href=http://refugee-action.org.uk/about/media_centre/our_news/1151_judicial_review_finds_home_secretary_acted_unlawfully_in_treatment_of_asylum_seekers target=_blankHigh Court’s response/aspannbsp;tonbsp;a /spana href=http://refugee-action.org.uk/assets/0000/9775/Refugee_Action_Judgment_Summary_FINAL_2.pdf target=_blankjudicial review/aspan of Ms May’s decision on asylum support rates for 2013-14, advanced by national NGO /spana href=http://www.refugee-action.org.uk/ target=_blankRefugee Action/aspan./span/p pspanThe support provided to asylum seekers in the UK while they await the outcome of an application for protection currently stands way below Income Support at around just £5 a day for a single adult. Amanda Gray has /spana href=http://www.opendemocracy.net/5050/amanda-gray/poverty-human-rights-abuse-in-ukargued/aspan on these pages that the scale of poverty sanctioned by this policy constitutes a ‘human rights abuse in the UK’. Elsewhere in Europe, including Germany, courts have found the imposition of similarly inhumane living conditions to be unjust./span/p pspanIn a humiliating and excoriating /spana href=http://www.bailii.org/cgi-bin/markup.cgi?doc=/ew/cases/EWHC/Admin/2014/1033.htmlamp;query=refugee+and+actionamp;method=boolean target=_blankjudgment/aspan, the High Court has labelled Ms May’s decision-making in regard to asylum support rates ‘flawed’ and condemned her analysis as ‘erroneous’. Moreover it accused her of misunderstanding and misapplying vital information, failing to take the steps required to reach a rational decision and misdirecting herself on a key legal point. Ouch./span/p pspanThis isn’t an exercise in /spanemschadenfreude/emspan. This is about holding to account a Government with a responsibility to ensure the human dignity of those who come to this country seeking protection from persecution in all its varied and shocking manifestations./span/p pspanRefugee Action took this challenge because we wanted to understand the Government’s decision to freeze support rates that had been progressively reducing in value over the past seven years. We wanted to know what reason and logic was applied to a decision to force over 20,000 people to live in poverty, forbidden to work and so lift themselves out of the misery./span/p pspanWe wanted to know what evidence led to the conclusion that so many of their basic needs – like a clean home and pain relief - are inessential and unnecessary for the purpose of maintaining a dignified standard of living./span/p pspanWe wanted to end the daily humiliation to which our clients, volunteers and friends are subjected as a consequence of this flawed decision./span/p pspanSo we put the Home Secretary on the spot and it turns out she doesn’t really know the answer either. Because the truth is that there wasn’t really any logic to this decision, nor any meaningful evidence or analysis to back it up.nbsp;/span/p pspanBut no-one reaches Ms May’s level of power and influence without having developed basic decision-making skills./span/p pAs a a href=http://www.opendemocracy.net/5050/people-on-movestring of articles/a on openDemocracy have demonstrated in recent months, there are a range of real reasons so many people are living in enforced poverty in the UK. There’s a small hint in the Home Office’s response to the ground-breaking judgment. A spokesman wasnbsp;a href=http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-26956544 target=_blankquoted/anbsp;as saying “Increasing [support rates] could encourage spurious asylum claims which could clog up the system and make it harder for those with a genuine fear of persecution from receiving vital support.”/p pSo there it is. Apparently an assessment of what constitutes an essential living need and how much money is required in order to meet that need doesn’t actually involve any reasonable consideration of either the need or the cost. It’s merely a political calculation: government looking tough on immigration multiplied by stoking public fear of asylum seekers equals the misery and impoverishment of thousands of vulnerable people. Hidden behind a pretext of preserving the asylum system from abuse, the Government has been systematically denying a dignified existence to exactly those ‘genuine’ asylum seekers that it claims to welcome./p pLet’s be clear, the Court has not declared the rates of support unlawful as it is not within its power to do so. Instead, Ms May has been ordered to retake her decision to freeze the rates of asylum support, based on the relevant evidence and law./p pWe won an amazing victory this week but the fight continues. We must not allow the Government to repeat this façade of a decision making process. We need to continue to force reason and logic back into the system for the sake of asylum seekers./pfieldset class=fieldgroup group-sideboxslegendSideboxes/legenddiv class=field field-related-stories div class=field-labelRelated stories:nbsp;/div div class=field-items div class=field-item odd a href=/5050/sonal-ghelani/government-in-dock-destitution-and-asylum-in-ukGovernment in the dock: destitution and asylum in the UK/a /div div class=field-item even a href=/5050/amanda-gray/poverty-human-rights-abuse-in-ukPoverty: a human rights abuse in the UK/a /div div class=field-item odd a href=/5050/nancy-bonongwe/seeking-asylum-ending-destitutionSeeking asylum, ending destitution/a /div div class=field-item even a href=/5050/jennifer-allsopp/tribunal-12-migrants%E2%80%99-rights-abuses-in-europeTribunal 12: migrants’ rights abuses in Europe/a /div /div /div /fieldset div class=field field-country div class=field-label Country or region:nbsp;/div div class=field-items div class=field-item odd UK /div /div /div

Sisi gains huge support for presidential bid

Al Jazeera - Tue, 04/15/2014 - 5:45am
Egyptian military commander receives 200,000 signatures, surpassing the 25,000 required to register for poll.

Jordan ambassador to Libya kidnapped

Al Jazeera - Tue, 04/15/2014 - 5:39am
Masked men in civilian clothes surround envoy's car, and fire at his driver and guards before abducting him.

Slow start to Ukraine separatists crackdown

Al Jazeera - Tue, 04/15/2014 - 5:28am
Kiev sends soldiers to the eastern region to confront separatists, as Russia declares Ukraine on the brink of civil war.

MH370 search heads underwater again

Al Jazeera - Tue, 04/15/2014 - 4:39am
Autonomous underwater vehicle to make second sweep of Indian Ocean sea bed for jetliner after aborting first attempt.

Understanding the Chinese Communist Party: a conversation with Yu Keping

Open Democracy - Tue, 04/15/2014 - 3:26am
div class=field field-summary div class=field-items div class=field-item odd pThe challenges of changing a revolutionary party into a ruling party, as seen by no new Martin Luther, but a modernist./p /div /div /div p‘If you want to know the future of the world,’ Yu Keping says, pouring green tea into a big red mug, ‘please understand China.’ For several seconds, he pauses, with effect. ‘But if you want to know China, please understand the Chinese Communist Party.’ /p pWith advice that feels like ice-cold water splashed on the face, my early morning breakfast in Nanchang with one of China’s most respected intellectuals gets under way. Yu Keping is famous. Despite keeping a measured distance from television and radio, and journalists in general, he’s become what the Chinese call a ‘public opinion leader’ (emyú lùn ling xiù/em). In the English-speaking world, he’s now a prominent figure in the booming business of China watching and China analysis, and deservedly so. Smart, modest and well-connected, Yu is a man of exact words on a tight schedule./ppspan class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-large'a href=http://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/BvpSJ8PNtVehc5RmZ5LVZaULBWR__1O6543wmlGFZyU/mtime:1397555038/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/YuKeping.JPG rel=lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline] title=img src=http://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/of32Mtqaygpqm3Dg1NO1QewTiNcZZwFN9QTQvlWSugk/mtime:1397457326/files/imagecache/article_large/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/YuKeping.JPG alt= title= width=400 height=300 class=imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-large imagecache imagecache-article_large style= //a span class='image_meta'span class='image_title'Yu Keping, photographed by John Keane/span/span/span/ppWe have an hour, so we squander no time in heading straight to our chosen topic: the great discussion that’s currently going on in China, since the 18th Party Congress, about the key priorities of the CCP, and the stated need to ‘deepen reforms’. What exactly does all this talk of reform mean, I ask him? Is it mere talk? ‘The main priority of the CCP is to improve the quality of life of Chinese people by promoting economic growth’, he replies. ‘Although China is now the world’s second largest economy, the quality of our economic growth lags far behind that of western countries.’ He adds: ‘Working for greater equality and justice are reform priorities. The break-neck speed of economic growth during the past few decades has widened the gap between rich and poor. It’s still widening. That’s why the Party wants to implement new taxation and redistribution policies.’/p pHe continues. ‘Protecting the environment is equally vital. A sad fact of China’s remarkable economic growth is the deterioration of the environment. In Beijing, where I live, the air is clogged with poisonous fine particles. Then there are the linked issues of corruption and social stability. China’s transition is rapid. There are so many challenges and social tensions’. But which social fault lines are primary, I ask? Yu doesn’t flinch when I ask him about the bitter conflicts in Xinjiang and Tibet, and the deep tensions between local Party officials and local people. ‘Several key challenges are now shaping the future of China’, he replies. ‘The prime tensions are between economic development and social fairness; economic growth and ecological protection; social stability and political democracy; individual rights and public goods; and between the China model and universal values.’/p pThis is familiar stuff, as if it came straight from recent Party documents. I press Yu to be more specific about where the Party is headed. In recent months, he’s called publicly for the ‘modernisation’ of cadre training. Since the CCP is the sole ruling party and the head and tail of political power in China – ‘the CCP is an elite vanguard party’ - how well it governs depends heavily on what’s taught within its growing numbers of Party schools, cadre training programs, ‘academies of governance’, overseas cadre training schemes and tertiary-level courses, for instance at Tsinghua University. Yu tells me he favours ‘strengthening educational content’ in line with ‘the needs of the knowledge economy and the information age’. ‘In the past’, he adds, ‘cadre training was designed to indoctrinate officials. The system’s outdated. What’s needed is its national upgrading and greater professionalism’. nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;/p pI suggest to Yu that his calls for a ‘self-purifying’ and ‘self-perfecting’ CCP remind me of Martin Luther’s early modern struggles in Europe against the wayward Church: ‘Yu Keping: the Martin Luther of the Chinese Communist Party!’ He chuckles but rejects the analogy, before outlining the inner-Party reforms that he sees as needed. Thanks to the modernisation of Party cadre education, says Yu, great improvements in cadres’ quality and governing capacity have been made. Yet when assessed overall, he adds, the training schemes are too costly and their achievements mixed. Domestic and foreign research trips are sometimes turned into ‘pleasure excursions’. Sabbatical schemes are abused. Training institutions function as schools of corruption, what Yu calls ‘cadre entertainment centres’. ‘Some cadres spend their time during training sessions eating, drinking and partying, and becoming degenerate and corrupt’. /p pFrank language, so I press Yu to share his thoughts on other obstacles faced by the Party. Many outsiders note the strange incoherence of the political language used by the Party. How can a ruling party govern in tongues? Party documents and Party advertising (that’s what it is) speak of ancient Chinese civilisation, social governance, comprehensive deepening of reforms, Marx and Engels, Confucius, socialism with Chinese characteristics, people’s democracy, the China Dream and getting rich through the market – all in the same breath, it seems. Isn’t this a recipe for confusion, inside and outside the Party, a strictly crafted language game that looks to many people more like babbling emmaquillage/em? Or is it in fact a great source of strength for a governing party that wants to be all things to all people, a Chinese equivalent of western ‘catch all’ parties? ‘Confusing as it may seem to outsiders, the language of the Party reflects its complex history’, says Yu. ‘In China, political terms invented by Party theoreticians play a vital role. Every leader has his favourite vision. Xi Jinping’s China Dream stands within this tradition. Leaders want to leave their imprint on the system. Hence all these terms are preserved, as reminders of the past, markers of the present and indicators of future tasks.’/p pWe turn to the politically sensitive question of accountability (emze ren/em). Yu has written that there are three basic questions that must be asked when understanding how a polity is governed. Who governs? What means are used? How effective are these means in achieving the goals they set for themselves? I suggest to Yu there’s a fourth dimension, the big and potentially dangerous question of whether or not there are effective mechanisms available for enabling the governed to hold governors publicly accountable. Doesn’t a vanguard party whose membership comprises only 7% of the total population have to pay special attention to this question? ‘Yes, it’s most important’, replies Yu. ‘For years, I’ve stressed the need to make the Party and its members more accountable to the public. It’s the key to improving the governance of China.’ /p pBut how is this to be done, I ask? We skirt around a sensitive subject: the revival by Xi Jinping, since assuming office, of the old ‘mass line campaign’ tradition that stretches back to Mao. Instead of purges, Yu wants to talk about the principle of how to prevent the abuse of power. “Only through democracy and the rule of law can the problem of accountability be fundamentally resolved’, he notes. ‘Future reforms must include the delegation and restraint of power. Along these lines, the 18th Party Congress agreed the need for giving priority to greater political transparency, deliberative democracy and the rule of law.’ But I ask him to explain what exactly restricting power might mean in practice. ‘Put simply’, says Yu, ‘it means that if officials don’t carry out their duties properly then citizens should have the right to remove them, on the grounds of incompetence. Restricting power also means the government keeps the public informed about important decisions. Without political transparency, there can’t be accountability. That’s why budgetary transparency, which has been absent in China, is so important, and is now at the top of the reform agenda.’ /p pIt’s clear from our breakfast conversation that Yu Keping is unswervingly loyal to the Party. But he is a Party modernist. He’s well aware that middle class membership of the CCP is rising, and that, for some time, their possible hijacking of the Party as a vehicle of self-enrichment, at the expense of ‘the people’, has been a topic of private discussion. He’s aware, too, that many outside China watchers insist that the CCP is an instrument of the hyper-rich red princelings [emtai zi/em], who’ve made fortunes on the backs of the Deng Xiaoping reforms. /p pYu prefers to emphasise that the CCP is the bearer of substantial improvements to the peoples of China; and although its mission is unfinished, he tells me he’s sure it will prove resilient under pressure from future reforms. When I suggest to him that the reforms he has in mind, greater accountability for instance, may well backfire on the CCP, making it vulnerable to outright public rejection, he looks unworried. ‘There are risks, and past mistakes have been made’, he says. ‘But I’m unconcerned, fully confident the Party has sufficient governing capacity to manage and control the risks. Actually, we don’t have any other choice, for without reforms, tensions will accumulate. Things would grow more dangerous.’ /p pAs final sips of tea are taken, Yu summarises his modernising vision. He says, in effect, the Party must serve as a living reminder to the whole population that things were once worse in China; that things can get better; and that without the CCP’s leadership, progress would be at risk. ‘The main task’, he says, sounding very much the mainstream progressive, ‘is to transform the Party from a revolutionary party to a ruling party. This requires the embrace of dynamic stability [emdòngtài wěndìng/em].’/p pYu glances at his watch. Our time is up. An hour that flew quickly ends with a big grin, a gripping handshake and a drop of firm advice. Dynamic stability doesn’t square with propaganda, he urges. The Party will have to kick the habit of trying to ‘keep the lid on everything’. In both its thinking and its practice, he says, the CCP must strive to grow smarter. It needs to learn to be ‘a learning party’./pfieldset class=fieldgroup group-sideboxslegendSideboxes/legenddiv class=field field-related-stories div class=field-labelRelated stories:nbsp;/div div class=field-items div class=field-item odd a href=/wang-hui-en-liang-khong/after-party-interview-with-wang-huiAfter the party: an interview with Wang Hui/a /div div class=field-item even a href=/en-liang-khong/wild-ghosts-bo-xilai-on-trialWild ghosts: Bo Xilai on trial/a /div /div /div /fieldset div class=field field-country div class=field-label Country or region:nbsp;/div div class=field-items div class=field-item odd China /div /div /div div class=field field-topics div class=field-labelTopics:nbsp;/div div class=field-items div class=field-item odd Conflict /div div class=field-item even Culture /div div class=field-item odd Democracy and government /div div class=field-item even Economics /div div class=field-item odd International politics /div /div /div

The rights in Hinduism

Open Democracy - Tue, 04/15/2014 - 3:00am
div class=field field-summary div class=field-items div class=field-item odd pimg src=http://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/3IMXGIs0Hi6P8KebzchDaxVEH3UPaq9Od3GahUBC7-Y/mtime:1397548837/files/Sharma_1-1.jpg alt= hspace=5 width=140 align=right /Contrary to popular perception, Hindu philosophies of moral agency, duty and universal truth cohabit with human rights values. A response to a href=http://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/larry-cox/human-rights-must-get-religion target=_blankLarry Cox/a. ema href=http://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/arvind-sharma/los-derechos-en-el-hinduismo target=_blankEspañol/a/em, a href=http://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/arvind-sharma/%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AD%D9%82%D9%88%D9%82-%D9%81%D9%8A-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%87%D9%86%D8%AF%D9%88%D8%B3%D9%8A%D8%A9 target=_blankemالعربية/em/a/p /div /div /div pIt is often maintained, directly or by implication, that Hinduism is antagonistic to human rights, that the only relationship possible between them is one of diametrical opposition, that the hierarchy of the caste system on which Hinduism is based leaves no room for the equality on which human rights are based./ppSuch a view appears to be so partial as to be erroneous. It may contain some truth in individual instances, but should not obscure the larger reality of Hinduism being entirely hospitable to human rights. Like Larry Cox writes in a href=http://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/larry-cox/human-rights-must-get-religion target=_blankhis piece/a, it is tragic to assume human rights and faith to always be in conflict, especially when moral values of dignity are the basis of much religious tradition./ppThe Hindu tradition, particularly, contains various accounts of the origin of the caste system. The best known among these is in thenbsp;a href=http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/484228/Purushasukta target=_blankPurushasukta/a of the Rigveda, which explains that the universe was created out of a single cosmic man (Purusha) when his body was offered at the primordial sacrifice. The fournbsp;emvarnas/emnbsp;or classes came from his mouth (priest), arms (warrior), thighs (peasant) and feet (servant)./ppA lessernbsp;known origin of the caste system is found in the a href=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brihadaranyaka_Upanishad target=_blankBrihadaranyaka/anbsp;Upanishad, the largest of the Upanishads.nbsp;According to this account, in the beginning there was the One Reality, Brahman. It did not flourish by itself so it created the Brahmins, or priests. Still it did not flourish, so it created the Kshatriyas, warriors. Still it did not flourish, so it created the Vaishyas, peasants. When it still did not flourish it created the Shudras, servants./ppThen it reflected. The Kshatriya is to protect them all but the Kshatriya tends to be intrusive. So in order to protect them all, it created Dharma, religion, or precepts and ethics which make the universe thrive. It is on account of Dharma that the weak overcomes the strong. If this is not the concept of individual human rights as a protection against the power of the state, what is? In the West, this right is given legal and moral basis, but in this passage it is identified with truth, and provided with an ontological and therefore even more firm basis, by being rooted in an is-ness rather than an ought-ness./ppA second example which demonstrates the congeniality of Hinduism to human rights is provided by thenbsp;a href=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taittiriya_Upanishad target=_blankTaittiriya/anbsp;Upanishad, in whichnbsp;a href=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adi_Shankara target=_blankSankara/anbsp;comments on what constitutes the uniqueness of human beings in comparison with other forms of life. Sankara maintains that a human being differs from say, animals, in that he possesses the capacity for knowledge (Jnana) and action (Kriya). In brief, the uniqueness of a human being consists in his or her being a moral agent./ppThis moral agency involves entitlement to basic rights and obligations. It then becomes obligatory on the part of society and state to maintain conditions of life in which the human being can exercise his or her moral agency by being able to claim rights and discharge obligations./ppThe third positive resource for human rights within Hinduism is a reference to the conception of the three debts and its extension in the Mahabharata. The Hindu law books refer to the debts one owes to the Gods, the sages and ancestors and these are respectively discharged through worship, scriptural study and the memorial service called Shraddha. To these the Mahabharata adds a fourth: The debt we owe to all human beings, which then is a debt which all human beings owe to one another, a concept which lies at the core of human rights, for these rights constitute entitlements of each human being on every human being./ppspan class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'a href=http://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/QPRUxXLGHUYFzPUF4EfaUYqg2wfHt0c4oNiv_Fo1EfE/mtime:1397529470/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/549299/Sharma.jpg rel=lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline] title=img src=http://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/rhPmf2XiZeP6JXFC5hviS-Hj2zbnjS9V6q1zJ5LaSzU/mtime:1397529435/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/549299/Sharma.jpg alt= title= width=460 height=306 class=imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge style= //a span class='image_meta'/span/spanspan class=image-captionIndian Hindu devotees take holy offerings as they visit to pay obeisance in a templenbsp;a href=http://www.demotix.com/news/649097/first-day-navratri-festival#media-649085Sanjeev Syal/Demotix/a. All Rights Reserved./span/ppspanThe fourth source lies in the concept of duties, which is so characteristic of Hindu axiology. A little reflection will reveal that one party's duty often coincides with another party's right. Thus a human being has a right to safety of person, which in turn is the duty of the state to ensure./span/ppIt is this convertibility of duties - rights idiom which perhaps explains the easy and swift shift of discourse from duties to rights in the West, for instance in the US civil rights movement, as Cox points out. A similar easy and swift switch is noticeable in India. By the beginning of the 19th century, social and religious reformernbsp;a href=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ram_Mohan_Roy target=_blankRaja Ram Mohan Roy/anbsp;spoke effortlessly of the rights of Indian women./ppA fifth source is provided by Hindu myths, like the story of King Shibi. As he sat in the court one day, a sparrow sought refuge in his lap, while being chased by a falcon. The falcon demanded the sparrow from the king as it constituted his means of subsistence. Accepting the falcon’s right, the king offered his own flesh in order to fulfill his duty of protecting his subjects./ppWhat are now called human rights can be identified in the range of Hindu scriptures from the philosophical to the popular. The cause of promoting human rights is better served by identifying these elements within Hinduism, rather than its wholesale and undiscerning condemnation. This is not to deny that Hinduism may contain elements opposed to human rights, but to challenge the notion that Hinduism is wholly incompatible with human rights./ppA version of this article was published innbsp;a href=http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P1-2297781.html target=_blankemIndia Abroad/em/a./pp span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'a href=http://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/B9Af2RUlldanykX1ojoHsGASxfsrABL4nJlSKrW2lWA/mtime:1397458332/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png rel=lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline] title=img src=http://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/WgJzRcU3P5NdUDJOlkzSEgki3wS0iFZRLm0CmiXWlv0/mtime:1397458315/files/imagecache/article_large/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png alt= title= width=300 height=115 class=imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_large style= //a span class='image_meta'/span/spanspannbsp;/span/pfieldset class=fieldgroup group-sideboxslegendSideboxes/legenddiv class=field field-read-on div class=field-label 'Read On' Sidebox:nbsp;/div div class=field-items div class=field-item odd pa href=http://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrightsimg src=http://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/Weaxx_p-fpXa4qsg8kDzR9SvQrpzda4TTHjdhZfrfng/mtime:1397529276/files/openGlobalRights2.jpg alt= width=140 //a/p /div /div /div div class=field field-sidebox div class=field-label Sidebox:nbsp;/div div class=field-items div class=field-item odd pa href=http://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/funding-for-human-rights target=_blank img src=http://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/4KIfAafjYbnrgWQCg1Gm7FCP5DHDmBQKfvvrnOmyfBk/mtime:1397246714/files/ReligionBlue.png border=0 alt= width=140 height=auto //a/p /div /div /div div class=field field-related-stories div class=field-labelRelated stories:nbsp;/div div class=field-items div class=field-item odd a href=/openglobalrights/james-ron-archana-pandya/introducing-openglobalrights%E2%80%99-newest-debate-religion-and-hIntroducing openGlobalRights’ newest debate: Religion and human rights/a /div div class=field-item even a href=/openglobalrights/larry-cox/human-rights-must-get-religionHuman rights must get religion/a /div div class=field-item odd a href=/openglobalrights/jack-snyder/on-wing-and-prayer-can-religion-revive-rights-movementOn a wing and a prayer: can religion revive the rights movement?/a /div div class=field-item even a href=/openglobalrights/muhtari-aminukano-ayaz-ali-atallah-fitzgibbon/islamic-and-un-bills-of-rights-same-dIslamic and UN Bills of Rights: same difference/a /div /div /div /fieldset

Islamic and UN Bills of Rights: same difference

Open Democracy - Tue, 04/15/2014 - 3:00am
div class=field field-summary div class=field-items div class=field-item odd pimg src=http://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/CDae9I1j9mVpHAkWV02Qmk8_QVGp6WDQyCt7fYmwJEo/mtime:1397548735/files/Islamic%20Reliefweb.jpg width=140 hspace=5 align=right /Despite tension between western notions of individual freedom and Muslim tenets of communal responsibility, there is much common ground to be found in the fight against oppression and discrimination. A contribution to the debate on religion and human rights. ema href=http://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/muhtari-aminukano-ayaz-ali-atallah-fitzgibbon/la-charte-des-droits-de-l%E2%80%99homme-islam target=_blankFrançais/a/em,nbsp;ema href=http://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/muhtari-aminukano-ayaz-ali-atallah-fitzgibbon/las-cartas-de-derechos-de-la-onu-y-de target=_blankEspañol/a,nbsp;ema href=http://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/muhtari-aminukano-ayaz-ali-atallah-fitzgibbon/%D9%85%D8%B4%D8%A7%D8%B1%D9%8A%D8%B9-%D9%82%D9%88%D8%A7%D9%86%D9%8A%D9%86-%D8%AD%D9%82%D9%88%D9%82-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%A5%D9%86%D8%B3%D8%A7%D9%86-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%A5%D8%B3%D9%84%D8%A7%D9%85%D9%8A%D8%A9- target=_blankالعربية/a/em/emem/em/p /div /div /div pThere is growing consensus in support of the UN Bill of Rights, whose fundamental principles are set forth in the a href=http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/ target=_blankUniversal Declaration of Human Rights/a (UDHR), and further specified in subsequent UN treaties. Increasingly, the language of rights and the instruments of the international rights regime are employed – at both national and global levels – in response to oppression and discrimination. The rights-based approach to development has gained momentum as a concept that a href=http://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/j-brian-atwood/human-rights-democracy-and-development-partners-at-last target=_blankachieves synergy between human rights, democracy and development/a./p pThis support for human rights comes from people of various faiths, as well as nonbelievers. However, this backing is neither total nor unconditional, for there are significant constituencies that experience real tension between universal human rights and their own beliefs or way of life. This is most prominent with respect to religious groups – particularly Muslims. /p h2strongCommon ground/strong/h2h2 /h2pBefore beginning an analysis on the tense relationship between human rights and normative Islam, we would like to emphasise that we strongly believe there is much common ground between the two. In the current and dominant development paradigm, the economy is an overwhelming (if not the strongest) influence, and secularism leads some to believe, or interpret, that morality has little or no place in the public sphere. /p pHuman rights discourse runs counter to this dogma and supports the position of Muslims and other faith-based groups, which places moral values and obligations at the centre of any political, economic, and social system. Thus, the global human rights framework conforms with Islam in its explicit commitment to the importance of morality in the public sphere, and to the values of compassion and social justice./p pAn even closer connection between the UDHR and Islam is the mutual recognition that respecting and fulfilling human rights is a means to upholding the dignity of human beings.nbsp; Both share the same objective of ensuring that everyone’s basic rights, irrespective of status, are protected. /p h2strongDivine source/strong/h2h2 /h2pAt a doctrinal level, both Islam and the UN Bill of Rights are in agreement on human dignity as the foundation of human rights. However, for Muslims, this does not go far enough. In Islam, as in many faiths, the root of human rights lies within theology and begins with faith in God, who is the source of transcendent value. It is God who bestowed dignity on human kind (a href=http://quran.com/17/70 target=_blankemQur’an/em 17:70/a) and who makes it unacceptable for anyone to violate human rights and take away a person’s dignity. Therefore, our conception of an individual’s rights will be in our relationship both with God as well as people within the community. This differs from the thrust of the UDHR, which appears to utilise a libertarian notion of an individual divorced from his/her social commitments and/or relationship with the collective. /p pIn practice this has two implications. First, the belief that God is the source of human rights leads to the conceptualisation of the rights of others as obligations on all believers. In Muslim understanding, all deeds (including unfulfilled obligations) are recorded and weighed on the Day of Judgment. Second, these social obligations form both the rights of others and ultimately the rights of God over us, which are actually manifest to us indirectly through creation and society. This is amply explained in the saying of the Prophet Muhammad in a href=http://www.hadithcollection.com/sahihmuslim/160-Sahih%20Muslim%20Book%2032.%20Virtues,%20Good%20Manners%20and%20Joining%20Of%20The%20Ties%20Of%20Relationship/15086-sahih-muslim-book-032-hadith-number-6232.html target=_blankemSahih/em Muslim Book 032, emHadith/em Number 6232/a, which illustrates that we fulfil our duties to God through granting the rights of others./p pThe Islamic paradigm, whilst often respected and admired by secular countries for its emphasis on social obligations, is contentious for the very reason that it is based on divinely revealed sources, the status of humans as being in servitude to God, and the omnipotence of a Divine authority that obliges obedience. This flies in the face of Western notions of the right to absolute freedom for the individual./p h2strongDuty-bearers, rights and responsibilities/strong/h2h2 /h2pWhile the UDHR tends to place government as the primary guardian of human rights, Islam emphasises responsibility for all levels and individuals in society. The government, as the national representative of the human family, is the ultimate guarantor of protection and justice. But this does not abrogate or necessarily outweigh individual responsibility and the role of family, neighbours or the wider civil society. Many Muslim countries today have comparatively weak central government authority and capacity to provide both social welfare and justice. This is balanced at a local level by the strength of social obligations and understanding of rights within the wider family and community, which ensure that the poor are fed, the vulnerable protected, and the law generally respected. Therefore the government is not the first port of call but rather the ultimate guarantor of rights. The prophet Muhammad is reported to have said: The sultan (government) is the guardian of he who has no guardian./p h2strongA duty toward others/strong/h2h2 /h2pAn example of the way rights and obligations are shared is the care for the elderly. The right to and cost of care in old age for the growing percentage of elderly people in Northern societies falls legally on the state as the principal duty-bearer in cases where support is required. In Muslim societies however, family members are perceived as the primary duty-bearers for care of their elderly parents, and parents in turn have responsibilities for their children’s emotional and physical care./ppspan class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'a href=http://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/Q2jObO-7TrT-6ZOQwT6kuB03qiycnQimTIvlAfFB0ts/mtime:1397529470/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/549299/Islamic%20Reliefweb_0.jpg rel=lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline] title=img src=http://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/X66vTlOm9eJBVk8DIEJ818x5UGqYCazwaSBDPJKhPMA/mtime:1397529435/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/549299/Islamic%20Reliefweb_0.jpg alt= title= width=460 height=305 class=imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge style= //a span class='image_meta'/span/span/pp class=image-captionCentral Mosque of Lisbon. Ramadan. Fernando a href=http://www.demotix.com/news/429391/last-friday-ramadan-lisbon#media-428877 target=_blankMendes/Demotix./a All Rights Reserved./p pThe growing emulation by developing nations of the dualist state-individual model of rights has very real threats for the stability and social health of these societies, which in most cases will be unable to deliver. Islam recognizes the need to ensure the development of socially responsible citizens fulfilling their role as complete, spiritually cognisant human beings with a duty of stewardship toward God’s creations (emKhulafaa/em)./p pIn summary therefore, according to Islamic teaching, rights are linked with a duty toward others. Muslim jurists have accordingly devised a rights framework that attempts to uphold and balance the common good and private interests of society. The a href=http://www.amazon.com/Rights-Islamic-Ibrahim-Abdulla-Al-Marzouqi/dp/0756767857 target=_blankframework/a envisages a continuum, with private rights (emhuquq al-ibad/em or emal-nas/em) on the one end, and public interest (emhuquq Allah/em) on the other. Those in which both public and private interests are at stake fall in the middle./p h2strongemShari’ah/em/strongstrong law and human rights/strong/h2h2 /h2 pA second level at which tensions manifest between Islam and human rights is in regards to certain provisions within emShari’ah/emspan law, which appear to be, or actually are, in contradiction with the human rights norms primarily led by Northern states. Non-Muslim human rights scholars have been critical of Muslim law in three broad areas, including perceptions that:/span/polliemShari’ah/emspan discriminates against women: For example, women are given half the share of men in inheritance, and while men may marry up to four wives, women are restricted to only one husband./span/liliemShari’ah/emspan penal law metes out cruel and dehumanizing punishment, such as amputation of hands for theft; amputation of hands and feet or crucifixion for highway robbery and rebellion; lapidation for adultery; and humiliating public flagellation for intoxication, slander, fornication and other offences./span/liliemShari’ah/emspan sanctions slavery and also restricts the liberty of religious minorities./span/li/ol pSome of these issues have received extensive discussion, clarification and reformulation. For example, slavery was a pre-Islamic institution in Arabia, and the coming of Islam not only moderated its practice but imposed conditions that encouraged its eradication. So while Islamic law did not ban slavery, it imposed conditions that will make it illegal to continue the practice in modern times (a href=http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/islam/history/slavery_1.shtml target=_blankBBC/a). /p pQuestions related to the status of women in political life also have been extensively debated. Denying women the right to become head of state is based on a particularly controversial emHadith /em(narration of the Prophet), and its interpretation and authenticity always has been contentious. /p pThe Organisation of Islamic Countries’ (OIC) a href=http://www.oic-oci.org/english/conf/women/2nd/OPAAW_final_2010_en.pdf target=_blankCairo Plan of Action for Women/a says that “women should be respected, developed, empowered, considered full active participants in social, political, cultural and economic spheres.” A major objective of the action plan is to “eliminate all forms of discrimination including combating violence against women.” Such broad consensus from an organisation representing Islamic states was the result of strenuous efforts by Muslim women, feminists, and scholars of Islamic studies to arrive at contemporary interpretations of emShari’ah/em in order to promote greater equality and remove the vestiges of discrimination. /p pMuch of this discourse has taken the form of highlighting controversies that have always existed in certain interpretations of Muslim law, questioning the reliability of certain reports of the Prophet’s traditions, critically examining the (in)contestability of certain conclusions, and/or placing juristic rulings in their appropriate historical context. /p pOther aspects cannot be easily resolved by simple “my verse-against-yours” re-interpretations. Like many religions, foundational tenets remain problematic due to Muslims having reached a consensus around certain provisions in the emQur’an/em centuries ago. Examples include female inheritance, emShari’ah/em punishments and polygamy. We take the view that even as these issues are resolvable, they cannot be resolved with secular theories or with arguments that the law – and thus religion – is “outdated.” /p pInstead, we argue for an approach that examines the emShari’ah/em from the perspective of its objectives (emMaqasid/em) and seeks to identify in its rulings the purpose they serve, usually either the promotion of a positive good (emMaslaha/em) or the elimination of corruption (emMafsadah/em) or both. Renowned Islamic scholars such as a href=http://www.amazon.co.uk/Maqasid-Al-Shariah-Philosophy-Islamic-Law/dp/1565644247 target=_blankJasser Auda/a and a href=http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/3382008?uid=2amp;uid=4amp;sid=21103554668527 target=_blankHashim Kamali/a have extensively explored these issues and taken informed positions to resolve them./p h2strongThe truth is the truth/strong/h2 pThe constant appraisal of changes to the context in which Muslims live has enabled Muslim scholars and societies to continually reassess the appropriateness of implementing emShari’ah/em using an ethical framework known as the “emMaqasid al-Shari’ah”/em (underlying divine purpose of Islamic law). /p pMuslim societies thus have remained relevant, beneficial, and adaptive to societal changes. However, Muslims will distrust any interpretation that is not based on the primary sources of the emQur’an/em and emSunnah/em. Correspondingly, Muslims must also reject the notion of finding fault with something just because they believe it came from the West. The truth is the truth, no matter who proposes it./p pUltimately, Islamic law is a complete system that recognises an ideological framework of truth emerging from divine revelation. Freedom of thought, and of religious practice, is for the most part a href=http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=e9jXMAEACAAJamp;dq=kamali+freedom+of+religion+in+Islamamp;hl=enamp;sa=Xamp;ei=n9wQU47cLIvg7Qa694DACAamp;ved=0CDsQ6AEwAg target=_blanksanctioned and protected/a within Islamic law. There is recognition that diversity is part of human nature and that justice must prevail in order to protect individual rights, so long as it doesn’t encroach on the common good. /p pMuslim countries throughout the world have ratified international human rights covenants, and as a group their implementation of these is no better or worse than that of non-Muslim countries. /p pA cursory look at the a href=http://www.heritage.org/index/heatmap target=_blank2014 Economic Freedom Index Heat Map/a shows remarkable similarities in the indices of neighbouring countries, and in the cases where neighbouring countries have significantly different indices, such countries are not necessarily adherents of different religions. Further, we undertook a preliminary analysis of the data that make up the map and found that there is no significant difference between the mean freedom index of OIC member countries from that of non-member countries. /pp This suggests to us that politics and culture, rather than religion, are the key determinants of human rights violations in the Muslim world and beyond./pp span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'a href=http://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/xpL1ZZX9ggbyx-IA5RorUvhbVwQrDppVdAjk8pWln-w/mtime:1397458242/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4.png rel=lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline] title=img src=http://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/30wkFx3pyJNkzS9zky4QXwG2zRQZq2PdP4mlosQ299Y/mtime:1397458195/files/imagecache/article_large/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4.png alt= title= width=300 height=115 class=imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_large style= //a span class='image_meta'/span/span/ppnbsp;/pfieldset class=fieldgroup group-sideboxslegendSideboxes/legenddiv class=field field-read-on div class=field-label 'Read On' Sidebox:nbsp;/div div class=field-items div class=field-item odd pa href=http://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrightsimg src=http://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/Weaxx_p-fpXa4qsg8kDzR9SvQrpzda4TTHjdhZfrfng/mtime:1397529276/files/openGlobalRights2.jpg alt= width=140 //a/p /div /div /div div class=field field-sidebox div class=field-label Sidebox:nbsp;/div div class=field-items div class=field-item odd pa href=http://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/funding-for-human-rights target=_blank img src=http://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/4KIfAafjYbnrgWQCg1Gm7FCP5DHDmBQKfvvrnOmyfBk/mtime:1397246714/files/ReligionBlue.png border=0 alt= width=140 height=auto //a/p /div /div /div div class=field field-related-stories div class=field-labelRelated stories:nbsp;/div div class=field-items div class=field-item odd a href=/openglobalrights/james-ron-archana-pandya/introducing-openglobalrights%E2%80%99-newest-debate-religion-and-hIntroducing openGlobalRights’ newest debate: Religion and human rights/a /div div class=field-item even a href=/openglobalrights/larry-cox/human-rights-must-get-religionHuman rights must get religion/a /div div class=field-item odd a href=/openglobalrights/jack-snyder/on-wing-and-prayer-can-religion-revive-rights-movementOn a wing and a prayer: can religion revive the rights movement?/a /div div class=field-item even a href=/openglobalrights/arvind-sharma/rights-in-hinduismThe rights in Hinduism/a /div /div /div /fieldset

Deadly Chile wildfires rage for fourth day

Al Jazeera - Tue, 04/15/2014 - 2:17am
Deadly fire engulfing the Chilean port city of Valparaiso has grown to "dimensions never before seen", president says.

The 'Self Preservation Society' wants Jim Prentice for 'The Alberta Job'

Rabble - Tue, 04/15/2014 - 1:11am
div class="story-teaser story-teaser-blog" div class="body" pThe question a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_Prentice" target="_blank" title="Jim Prentice Wiki" rel="nofollow"Jim Prentice/a really needs to ask himself is this: em"Do I really want to ride that bus all the way to the bottom of the cliff and be sitting in it when it bursts into flames?"/em/p pThe question the lawyer, banking boss and sometime federal Conservative politician will actually ask himself will likely be a little more polished, and a little more complicated. To wit: em"Can becoming leader of the Alberta Progressive Conservative Party help my ambition to become the prime minister of Canada?"/em/p div class="read-more"/div /div /div pa href="http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/djclimenhaga/2014/04/self-preservation-society-wants-jim-prentice-alberta-job" target="_blank"read more/a/pdiv class="feedflare" a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/rabble-news?a=DN1wFAf11RU:k9bEOc5cQLk:yIl2AUoC8zA"img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/rabble-news?d=yIl2AUoC8zA" border="0"/img/a a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/rabble-news?a=DN1wFAf11RU:k9bEOc5cQLk:qj6IDK7rITs"img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/rabble-news?d=qj6IDK7rITs" border="0"/img/a a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/rabble-news?a=DN1wFAf11RU:k9bEOc5cQLk:dnMXMwOfBR0"img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/rabble-news?d=dnMXMwOfBR0" border="0"/img/a a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/rabble-news?a=DN1wFAf11RU:k9bEOc5cQLk:F7zBnMyn0Lo"img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/rabble-news?i=DN1wFAf11RU:k9bEOc5cQLk:F7zBnMyn0Lo" border="0"/img/a a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/rabble-news?a=DN1wFAf11RU:k9bEOc5cQLk:V_sGLiPBpWU"img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/rabble-news?i=DN1wFAf11RU:k9bEOc5cQLk:V_sGLiPBpWU" border="0"/img/a /divimg src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/rabble-news/~4/DN1wFAf11RU" height="1" width="1"/

Pro-Russian rebels widen campaign in Ukraine

Al Jazeera - Mon, 04/14/2014 - 10:36pm
US urges Russia to demand separatists withdraw from east, as Kiev fails to launch military operation to remove them.

MH370 hunt proves too deep for robot vehicle

Al Jazeera - Mon, 04/14/2014 - 9:32pm
Submarine reaches maximum depth hours after beginning search for wreckage of missing Malaysian Airlines jet.

Man loses job. What next? (He's G4S's Nick Buckles, by the way)

Open Democracy - Mon, 04/14/2014 - 8:12pm
div class=field field-summary div class=field-items div class=field-item odd pWhat happens after a government outsourcer fails shareholders and the public, and the boss loses his job? span style=line-height: 1.5;Nick Buckles gets £1,200,000/spanspan style=line-height: 1.5;nbsp;/spanspan style=line-height: 1.5;— and a pension of more than £400,000 a year./span/p /div /div /div pspan class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-large'a href=http://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/b4A2G9FD2bmSl-cIB-FUe7cOgDktHxLQVAMhnaUD9rg/mtime:1397529459/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/536680/buckles_72127592_72127591.jpg rel=lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline] title=img src=http://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/FjttQ1NBz3nQJ1GdLEXMFw5RE3LkjNAcfWrjxOU4ohQ/mtime:1397529416/files/imagecache/article_large/wysiwyg_imageupload/536680/buckles_72127592_72127591.jpg alt= title= width=304 height=171 class=imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-large imagecache imagecache-article_large style= //a span class='image_meta'span class='image_title'Nick Buckles, ex-chief executive of government outsourcer G4S/span/span/span/ppspanNick Buckles, chief executive of G4S, lost his job in May last year days after the government announced an a href=http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-22568970inquiry into apparent charging 'errors'/a on Ministry of Justice contracts.nbsp;/spanspanIt turned out that G4S had 'overcharged' for tagging and monitoring ex-offenders; they'd even charged for tagging dead people. Lately it's been discovered that they 'overcharged' for running court lock-ups too.nbsp;/spanspanThey've had to pay back/spanspannbsp;£109 million. That's an awful lot of dodgy accounting, or theft.nbsp;/span/ppspanBuckles was already under pressure after two gigantic failures./spanspannbsp;/spanspanIn 2011 G4S had to scrap a/spanspannbsp;/spana href=http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/supportservices/8863546/G4S-chief-Nick-Buckles-regrets-failure-of-5.2bn-ISS-deal.html£5 billion bid for a cleaning and catering business/aspan, squandering £50 million in fees. Then came the London Olympics, when G4S failed to supply enough security guards and the government had to call in the Army./span/ppspanSo Buckles/spanspannbsp;'retired' aged 52, a href=http://www.opendemocracy.net/ourkingdom/clare-sambrook/g4s-boss-nick-buckles-retires-at-52-multimillionairea wealthy man/a. He was just a company executive,nbsp;/spanspannot an entrepreneur,nbsp;/spanspanyet he'd made /spanspana fortune of £20 million or more./spanspannbsp;/span/ppspanHow has life been since Buckles lost his job?nbsp;/spanspanYesterday, G4S released its report and accounts for 2013. You can read it /spana href=http://www.g4s.com/~/media/3A387C7DC35049C6950D738F6AEBDB88.ashxhere/aspan. /spanspanFor people familiar with the way corporate remuneration works,/spanspannbsp;n/spanspano surprises. For the rest of us it's . . . well, see what you think:/span/ppspanIn the twelve months since Buckles lost his job, they've carried on handing him £69,267nbsp;/spanspanevery monthnbsp;/spanspanin basic pay./span/ppIs that enough?/ppApparently not./ppspanOn top of that he gets a /spanspancash allowance in lieu of pension. Another £27,666 every month./span/ppspanEnough?/span/ppspanNot quite. They've given him anbsp;/spanspancar allowance of £1,667 every month.nbsp;/spanspanAnd paid his private medical insurance bills of £1,892./span/ppThose monthly payments total £1,182,000. /ppspanTo help him adjust to joblessness, they've handed him anothernbsp;£48,000 fornbsp;/spanspanoutplacement advice and services./span/ppThat's not all./ppIn recognition of his long service, G4S gave Nick Buckles a present: value £12,890.nbsp;/ppspan class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'a href=http://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/hA9yaO4muxF-zbMWdXT4ZAL2QoA5max7Rj-J_ViH3rA/mtime:1397529459/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/536680/bucklesapril2014_0.jpg rel=lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline] title=img src=http://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/jtjmqbedqBxX348Dvjm8z2KaWRQczMH9I5mN4OoBXzA/mtime:1397529416/files/imagecache/article_large/wysiwyg_imageupload/536680/bucklesapril2014_0.jpg alt= title= width=400 height=60 class=imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_large style= //a span class='image_meta'/span/span/ppspanspanspanWe're told: Nick Buckles did not receive any bonus payment for the duration of his 12 month notice period. No bonus. Must be tough./span/span/span/ppspanspanspanWhen Buckles turns 60, there's a £411,600 annual pension coming his way./span/span/span/ppspanspanA lot of people are losing jobs as a href=http://www.opendemocracy.net/ourkingdom/rebecca-omonira-oyekanmi/lone-parent-trapausterity bites/a, losing benefits, losing homes. At G4S and a href=http://www.opendemocracy.net/ourkingdom/clare-sambrook/fail-and-prosper-how-privatisation-really-worksother outsourcers who profit from a/a/spanspana href=http://www.opendemocracy.net/ourkingdom/clare-sambrook/fail-and-prosper-how-privatisation-really-worksusterity's chill/a, even failure pays./span/span/ppspanThe other daynbsp;/spanspanFrancis Maude,nbsp;/spanspanthe minister in charge of outsourcing, issued a a href=http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201314/cmhansrd/cm140409/wmstext/140409m0001.htm#140409m0001.htm_spmin2written statement/a.nbsp;/spanspanHe said G4S had agreed to repay £108.9 million to reimburse the taxpayer. Henbsp;/spanspanpraisednbsp;the company's efforts in what they're calling corporate renewal. He said G4S was moving in thenbsp;/spanspanright direction of travel to meet our expectations as a customer./span/ppspanT/spanspanhe customer. That's us./span/ppspanIn case anybody should think that a £109 million 'overcharging' scam might perhaps knock the customer's trust in privatisation, Maude insisted: /spanspanThe Government are committed to opening up public contracts, with a wide, diverse range of providers competing to deliver high-quality services./span/ppspanA government spokeswoman said this meant that G4S was free again to bid for public contracts./span/ppspanHow did G4S's current chief executivenbsp;Ashley Almanza welcome the news?nbsp;/spanspanOur priorities now are to deliver outstanding service on existing contracts and to grow our business by competing for new Government services in areas where we have proven expertise and capability, a href=http://www.g4s.com/en/Investors/News%20and%20Presentations/Announcements/2014/04/09/Cabinet%20Office%20-%20Written%20Ministerial%20Statement/he said/a./span/ppspanspan class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_right caption-medium'a href=http://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/BnXmRNWxayDiox70nv8EnONmImfT9013trW_3OjtBdw/mtime:1397564743/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/536680/ASHLEYALMANZAG4S.jpg rel=lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline] title=img src=http://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/6XyEQQOO7b4LOEw5wVssuxl0_xsmOKnEkSEhcR0UZ9w/mtime:1397564558/files/imagecache/article_medium/wysiwyg_imageupload/536680/ASHLEYALMANZAG4S.jpg alt= title= width=200 height=156 class=imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-medium imagecache imagecache-article_medium style= //a span class='image_meta'span class='image_title'G4S Grp CEO Ashley Almanza/span/span/spanAlmanza came to G4S as finance director on 1 May last year on a basic salary of £625,000. That leapt tonbsp;£820,000 a few weeks later when Buckles left and Almanza was hurriedly promoted. His first nine months' work so impressed his fellow directors that they gave him, on top of his salary, a £648,000 bonus.nbsp;/spanspanAnd so the forward march of G4S goes on./span/ppspanShouldnbsp;Almanzanbsp;fail to deliver /spanspanoutstanding service what's the worst that could happen to him? A style of unemployment that lies beyond the dreams of avarice?/spanspannbsp;/span/ppspanIf the customer decides to vote this government out,/spanspannbsp;what might become of Francis Maude? /spanspanLast time he lost his seat he a href=https://www.gov.uk/government/people/francis-maudeslid safely into directorships/a atnbsp;/spanspanMorgan Stanley, Salomon Brothers, Asda.nbsp;/span/ppspannbsp;/span/phr /p class=paddingtonpressliststrongemLiked this piece? Please donate to OurKingdom /em/stronga href=http://www.opendemocracy.net/ourkingdom/donatestrongemhere /em/strong/astrongemto help keep us producing independent journalism. Thank you./em/strong/ppnbsp;/pfieldset class=fieldgroup group-sideboxslegendSideboxes/legenddiv class=field field-related-stories div class=field-labelRelated stories:nbsp;/div div class=field-items div class=field-item odd a href=/ourkingdom/clare-sambrook/fail-and-prosper-how-privatisation-really-worksFail and prosper: how privatisation really works/a /div div class=field-item even a href=/ourkingdom/rebecca-omonira-oyekanmi/lone-parent-trapThe lone parent trap/a /div div class=field-item odd a href=/ourkingdom/clare-sambrook/g4s-boss-nick-buckles-retires-at-52-multimillionaireG4S boss Nick Buckles retires at 52, a multimillionaire/a /div div class=field-item even a href=/ourkingdom/stuart-weir/uk-becomes-worlds-second-largest-outsourcing-marketUK becomes world#039;s second largest outsourcing market/a /div div class=field-item odd a href=/ourkingdom/ellie-butt/g4s-serco-fraud-oops-we-couldnt-tell-difference-between-right-and-wrongG4S amp; Serco fraud: Oops, we couldn#039;t tell the difference between right and wrong/a /div div class=field-item even a href=/ourkingdom/ellie-butt/when-companies-charge-taxpayer-for-monitoring-deadWhen companies charge the taxpayer for monitoring the dead/a /div div class=field-item odd a href=/ourkingdom/michael-turner/privatised-justice-and-erosion-of-democracy-in-ukPrivatised justice and erosion of democracy in the UK/a /div /div /div /fieldset

Woman stands naked on airport runway, takes overdose

Open Democracy - Mon, 04/14/2014 - 8:01pm
div class=field field-summary div class=field-items div class=field-item odd pBritain deports mentally ill asylum seekers in leg restraints and paper suits.span style=line-height: 1.5;nbsp;A new report by the prisons inspector sheds light on an ugly business./span/p /div /div /div pspan class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'a href=http://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/oSsOkEG79ILrPM88zdRPfKXSaqcUo_9F7pfM9CHPBtI/mtime:1397529459/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/536680/Charter-flight-nose.jpg rel=lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline] title=img src=http://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/RqhY9gkgO1dNgrzoD4vbtaA1Spbro-xYAc4lMUt6n8E/mtime:1397529432/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/536680/Charter-flight-nose.jpg alt=illustration of airplane packed with human beings evoking slave ship images title= width=460 height=282 class=imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge style= //a span class='image_meta'span class='image_title'Charter Flight by Oviyan for Corporate Watch/span/span/span/ppA mentally ill Nigerian woman stands naked on the runway in Lagos and takes an overdose. She has just been deported from Britain. The Home Office calls this 'Operation Majestic'./ppspanIf you still think the Home Office is soft on immigration, then you probably have not heard about its charter flight programme. Unwanted people are packed onto specially hired planes in the middle of the night and sent back in their droves to Nigeria, Afghanistan and Pakistan. The departure airport is kept secret, to prevent protesters from disrupting the flight./span/p pThis shadowy programme has involved approximately 800 flights since it began in 2001, removing almost 30,000 people from the UK, according tospannbsp;a/spanspannbsp;/spana href=https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/195757/response/489198/attach/html/3/FOI%2030574%20Clinton.pdf.htmlHome Office response/aspannbsp;/spanspanto an inquriy made under the Freedom of Information Act./spanspannbsp;It went on for a decade before independent inspectors were even allowed on board to observe the flights, in 2011./span/p pThenbsp;a href=http://www.justice.gov.uk/downloads/publications/inspectorate-reports/hmipris/detainee-escort-inspections/nigeria.pdffirst reports/anbsp;from HM Inspectorate of Prisons were not reassuring. On a deportation to Nigeria, a flight plan which the Home Office curiously code-names 'Operation Majestic', “inspectors were very concerned at the highly offensive and sometimes racist language they heard staff use between themselves. Quite apart from the offence this language may have caused to those who overheard it, it suggested a shamefully unprofessional and derogatory attitude that did not give confidence that had a more serious incident occurred, it would always have been effectively dealt with.”/p pThree years after that flight, the a href=http://www.justice.gov.uk/news/press-releases/hmi-prisons/detainees-under-escort-inspection-of-escort-and-removals-to-nigeria-and-ghana-limited-improvements.findings from a follow-up inspection/a have just been released. /p pThe Chief Inspector of Prisons, Nick Hardwick, wrote that:/pblockquotep“While there were some noticeable improvements, especially in the attitudes and language of escort staff, several of our recommendations have had to be repeated verbatim this time. The distress of detainees undergoing removal is evident from the behaviours and accounts outlined in this report.”/p/blockquote pLess racist language is an improvement. But still, the Inspector had to rebuke escort staff for comments like, “We should wear burqas - not being funny”./p pThe rest of the report is certainly not funny. What Nick Hardwick calls “the distress of detainees” reeks through the sanitised pages./p pThe section on 'Preparation and departure from removal centres' reveals that, “A detainee at strongColnbrook/strong had self-harmed and barricaded himself in his room before removal.” Guards managed to restrain him and he surrendered a razor blade. But the Inspector said this “stressful and risky situation” could “have been completely avoided”. The Home Office had failed to complete the necessary paperwork for the man's deportation, so he could not have been put on the flight that day anyway. /p pThe next paragraph has a desperate line: “Another detainee at strongHarmondsworth/strong had been banging his head against a wall repeatedly the evening before departure”. He was not the only one on suicide watch: “Another detainee had taken his clothes off at strongTinsley/strongstrong House/strong and refused to leave, saying that he would hurt himself and would rather die”. This man was handcuffed and placed under constant supervision. /ppThe report does not say what situation these men had run away from, or what they feared going back to. But my own encounters with passengers on Operation Majestic (as a visitor to detention centres) were with people who had lived in Britain for years, worked hard and posed no threat to the public. Of course, all that meant nothing to the Home Office bureaucrats./p pThe report also contains scenes reminiscent of the blanket men. At strongMorton Hall/strong, in Lincoln, a detainee “started a dirty protest”. So he was driven 180 miles to another detention centre, at Gatwick, where he gave up the protest and took a shower. The Inspector then says “He was taken to Stansted in a people carrier wearing a paper suit, with the interior prepared in case he should resume the protest.”/p pThe most tragic story in the report is about Ms D, a mentally ill Nigerian woman who definitely did not want to go home. When she heard that they were going to deport her, she told them she “had nothing in Nigeria” and threatened to kill herself if sent back. Not surprisingly then, Ms D, “was at the extreme of non-compliance, resisting at every point and spitting at anyone who spoke to her”. So to get her out of the country, Home Office contractors placed her in “leg restraints for 10 hours 5 minutes and in handcuffs for 14 hours 30 minutes, continuously in each case.” /p pspan class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_left caption-medium'a href=http://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/YFzH1SNVsMRd-XToO6MIevDRIyooXRvFc8Vo5d3_BgA/mtime:1397529460/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/536680/Lunar-HouseIndymedia-199x300.jpg rel=lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline] title=img src=http://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/IZWWVTBqt9zUzB7RDUffNwI-wbc8Yc1f5ZddbulCqIM/mtime:1397529429/files/imagecache/article_medium/wysiwyg_imageupload/536680/Lunar-HouseIndymedia-199x300.jpg alt= title= width=199 height=300 class=imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-medium imagecache imagecache-article_medium style= //a span class='image_meta'span class='image_title'Charter flights are planned from the 17th floor of Lunar House (Indymedia)/span/span/spanThe staff were not fazed. “On the whole, staff showed commendable calmness and confidence in keeping Ms D under control.” But there were some hiccups. “Her head was restrained continuously for more than 45 minutes without sufficient testing of her compliance; her arms were restrained by some staff (but not others) throughout the flight, which was unnecessary; and at one point pain compliance was used when restraint would have sufficed.”/p pThe staff are not to blame for these mistakes, because they are not trained for this scenario. The Inspector said, “There remains, still, no accredited training for use of force in the confined space of an aircraft, and there were clearly no procedures for the contingency of a detainee continually spitting.” /p pAfter an inquest into the death of Angolan refugee Jimmy Mubenga on a deportation flight in 2010, the Coroner warned, “Appropriate techniques and bespoke training packages, reflecting the environment in which restraint may need to be applied (aircraft), should be introduced expeditiously”. The new training manual, pointedly titled 'emHome Office Manual on Escorting Safely', or HOMES,/em is still not ready. /p pMeanwhile, back on board Operation Majestic with Ms D, the, “escort staff also discussed the woman and her situation in front of her in a way which could have increased distress, and after reading a reference to mental health issues in her PER [Person Escort Record], an officer pointed to her head and said ‘she’s a bit...’ apparently referring to Ms D’s mental health.”/p pWhen the plane landed in Lagos, Ms D was still in handcuffs and had been crying. She did not want to disembark. The report says, “She spat at a Nigerian official who approached her and was carried off the plane, still offering considerable resistance.” /p pWhat happened next is unbelievable. “Half an hour later, she was sitting on the tarmac in front of the plane with nobody communicating with her. She took all the medication, including anti-psychotic drugs that the [Home Office] paramedics had handed to the local officials who had then passed it to Ms D.”/ppspanspan class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_right caption-medium'a href=http://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/0itrppC-ROl8n6-B6aZ-_dhaxGhY8E89CKdYz8GPcFg/mtime:1397529461/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/536680/tascor.jpg rel=lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline] title=img src=http://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/IvyoFi1ygCYkvQR85lTdB2H2xHnVcEfRam14rfkkq2c/mtime:1397529429/files/imagecache/article_medium/wysiwyg_imageupload/536680/tascor.jpg alt= title= width=240 height=143 class=imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-medium imagecache imagecache-article_medium style= //a span class='image_meta'span class='image_title'A Tascor guard (Capita)/span/span/span“Nigerian officials subsequently said that Ms D was unfit to remain in Nigeria and wanted her to return to the UK. They brought her to the foot of the aircraft front steps unclothed except for a towel around her shoulders as she had ripped her clothes off.”/span/p p“Up to 30 local officials surrounded the foot of the stairs, one of whom pushed Ms D forward. She fell on to the stairs, grabbed the handrail and began to struggle. The aircraft commander, additional Tascor staff, pilot and paramedic all said that Ms D was unfit to fly and needed hospital attention, and approximately half hour later, an ambulance arrived.” (Tascor isnbsp;spanthe escort company, part of Capita)./span/p pMs D was taken to a local hospital and according to the Home Office, “discharged on the same day”. But the Inspectors, “do not know what happened thereafter, or whether any dialogue has taken place between the Nigerian and British governments about the way that the incident was handled.”/p pThe inspection report summarised this episode by saying, “The disembarkation process for Ms D was very prolonged and unduly stressful for her and others.” Nothing special for the Home Office, however. The ghost flights go almost weekly to somewhere in the world, taking their haunted passengers with them. /p pemnbsp;/em/phr /pemThanks to a href=http://oviyan-arts.tumblr.comOviyan/a for his illustration. This piece was first published by a href=http://www.irr.org.uk/news/majestic-deportations/Corporate Watch/a. To find out more about Home Office deportation flights, read the Corporate Watch report '/ema href=http://www.corporatewatch.org/?lid=5193Collective Expulsion/aem: The case against Britain's mass deportation charter flights'./em/ppnbsp;/pfieldset class=fieldgroup group-sideboxslegendSideboxes/legenddiv class=field field-related-stories div class=field-labelRelated stories:nbsp;/div div class=field-items div class=field-item odd a href=/ourkingdom/phil-miller/british-government-hires-private-jet-to-deport-hunger-striker-isa-muazuBritish government hires private jet to deport hunger-striker Isa Muazu/a /div div class=field-item even a href=/ourkingdom/phil-miller/security-industry-provides-medics-for-uk-deportation-flightsSecurity industry provides medics for UK deportation flights/a /div div class=field-item odd a href=/ourkingdom/david-rhys-jones/when-youve-been-tortured-does-it-matter-who-your-torturer-wasWhen you#039;ve been tortured does it matter who your torturer was?/a /div div class=field-item even a href=/ourkingdom/phil-miller/sending-people-back-to-be-killed-todays-london-to-colombo-flight-of-failed-re#039;Sending people back to be killed#039;: Today#039;s London to Colombo flight of failed refugees/a /div div class=field-item odd a href=/ourkingdom/soas-detainee-support-activist/just-go%E2%80%9D-final-slap-for-unwanted-britain%E2%80%99s-deportation-shaquot;Just Go!” A final slap for the unwanted: Britain’s deportation shame/a /div div class=field-item even a href=/ourkingdom/clare-sambrook/jimmy-mubenga-and-shame-of-british-airwaysJimmy Mubenga and the shame of British Airways/a /div div class=field-item odd a href=/ourkingdom/clare-sambrook/fail-and-prosper-how-privatisation-really-worksFail and prosper: how privatisation really works/a /div /div /div /fieldset

Kansas gun suspect faces hate crime charges

Al Jazeera - Mon, 04/14/2014 - 7:36pm
Frazier Glenn Cross, 73, arrested after deaths of three people at two Jewish centres in Kansas.

US: Russian jet made close-range passes

Al Jazeera - Mon, 04/14/2014 - 7:33pm
Su-24 aircraft made 12 passes and flew within 900m of destroyer USS Donald Cook, Pentagon says.

France tries mass DNA test in hunt for rapist

Al Jazeera - Mon, 04/14/2014 - 7:08pm
Police take samples from hundreds of male pupils and staff following rape of 16-year-old girl in school in La Rochelle.

Syrian army seizes towns near Lebanon border

Al Jazeera - Mon, 04/14/2014 - 7:04pm
Hezbollah-owned Al Manar TV says three of its journalists killed as troops retake rebel-held town of Maaloula.