human rights

The statement below was released by socialist groups from around the Asia-Pacific region on December 1 to coincide with protests across Indonesia and elsewhere in solidarity with West Papua’s struggle for freedom.

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We, the undersigned organisations, express our support to the struggle of the people of West Papua for self-determination.

December 1 marks the West Papua’s Independence Day for Papuans when the Morning Star flag was raised in 1961 before annexed by Indonesia. The flag symbolised the aspiration of many Papuans for a Free West Papua.

Earlier this year, a poll found the British public were generally proud of their country’s role in colonialism and the British Empire. The YouGov poll from January found 44% were proud of Britain’s history of colonialism, while only 21% regretted it. The same poll also asked about whether the British Empire was a good thing or a bad thing: 43% said it was good, while only 19% said it was bad. 

Hundreds of service workers were arrested while striking for a US$15 minimum wage and the right to form a union in cities across the United States on November 29. Organisers say the strikers remain undaunted.

Supporters of the NSW Hunter Valley community of Wollar held simultaneous rallies in Sydney and Mudgee on November 29 against a coalmine expansion that threatens to wipe out the village. 

The NSW Planning Assessment Commission (PAC) is reviewing the proposal to extend the Wilpinjong coalmine. It held a public hearing about the project in Mudgee but Wollar residents and supporters boycotted it and protested instead. They said the process is stacked against them and the community’s legal rights have been taken away. 

Tamils throughout the north and east of the island of Sri Lanka have defied police harassment and threats from government ministers to remember those who died fighting for an independent Tamil homeland.

November 27 is Tamil Eelam Heroes Day. In past years, people have been arrested for taking part in commemorative events.

The date November 30, 2016 will surely go down in infamy through all history — or at least until the developing ecoholocaust being worsened by Australian government policies destroys the basis for human civilisation and renders meaningless the concept of history. So until about 2030, at least.

On that day, in Canberra, a terrible assault on democracy took place. It pains me to write this, but Parliamentary Question Time — that institution all freedom loving people throughout the world hold so dear — was delayed for 40 minutes by chanting protesters in the public gallery.

For years, those who had hoped and prayed for his death were repeatedly disappointed by a photo, a news clip or a commentary in that unmistakable style.

The rumours always proved unfounded. Fidel Castro, who had dodged some 600 attempts on his life orchestrated by the CIA, was very much alive and making the most of his twilight years.

There were no rumours this time. His brother Raul, voice quavering with emotion, read out a brief statement on TV and a sombre stillness descended on the Cuban archipelago.

Update: The US Army Corps of Engineers denied the Dakota Access pipeline company a permit to drill underneath the Missouri River on December 4 Democracy Now! reported. The decision officially halts construction of the US$3.8 billion oil pipeline that has faced months of resistance from the Standing Rock Sioux in North Dakota and members of more than 200 indigenous nations from across the Americas, as well as their non-Native allies.

Black Lives Matter, the US anti-police brutality group formed to oppose racist police killings, mourned the death of former Cuban president and revolutionary leader Fidel Castro in a statement reflecting on his life. In it, the group discussed the lessons it has learned from his struggle against racism and imperialism.

Haitham Mohamedain is a prominent Egyptian labour lawyer and member of the Revolutionary Socialists who has been unjustly jailed repeatedly by the military regime led by President Abdul-Fattah el-Sisi.

In April, Mohamedain was detained again as part of a crackdown on a new wave of protests against the Sisi regime, including its transfer of two Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia.

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