human rights

Protests have hit the predominantly Tamil Northern Province of Sri Lanka in recent days.

On February 4, Tamilnet said 200 relatives of disappeared people gathered near the Jaffna District Secretariat building. Sivapatham Ilankothai told how her daughter and son-in-law and their three children disappeared after being taken away by the Sri Lankan Army on May 18, 2009. Many thousands of other Tamils have also disappeared in a similar way.

A union leader, M Sujeewa Mangala, was found blindfolded and dumped by the roadside on February 1, three days after being abducted by unknown armed men.

Mangala, the vice-president of the All-Ceylon Telecommunication Employees Union, has been playing a leading role in the struggle of temporary workers at Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) for permanency. The workers are classified as “temporary” even though some have been working at SLT for more than a decade.

Days of angry protests have hit Paris and other French cities after police raped and bashed a 22-year-old Black man on February 2.

Windows were smashed and fires were started in Paris's Menilmontant district on the night of February 8, TeleSUR English said the next day. Activists took to the streets to call for justice for “Theo” after French police were charged over his rape and abuse during a raid on a housing estate in the working-class department of Seine-Saint-Denis. One of the police officers has been charged with rape, while three others were charged with assault.

Donald Trump came roaring out of the starting gate after his inauguration, doubling down on the main themes of his election campaign. He moved quickly to initiate a slew of executive orders, tweets and rulings.

One major aspect of this is his drive to progressively concentrate ever more power in his own hands. Since the start of his campaign for president, Trump has maintained that the establishments of both the Democratic and Republican parties have failed to deal with the problems facing US people at home, and the decline in US power globally.

The dual trial of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) in Western Australia has ended with a bilateral agreement signed on February 1 by the WA state and federal governments.

The WA model got the guernsey and will be locally run and administered. Starting in July, it will be rolled out to an estimated 39,000 people over the next three years. WA will pay all the administration and operating costs but governance responsibilities will be shared nationally.

The Occupy movement, which started as a protest against Wall Street, but ballooned across the US and internationally in 2011, adopted the slogan “We are the 99%” to symbolise the struggle for a better world against the greed of “the 1%”. Some people at the time thought it was an exaggeration to talk about the 1% versus the 99%, but according to Oxfam, since 2015, that richest 1% has owned more wealth than the rest of the planet combined.

Oro
Written & directed by Alvin Yapan
Feliz Film Productions, 2016

Oro, the Filipino film written and directed by Alvin Yapan released in December, is based on the 2014 murder of four small-scale miners in Sitio, Lahuy.

For 20 years, Elmer (Joem Bascon) and his men have freely mined in the tiny but gold-rich island of Lahuy Island in the town of Caramoan in Bicol.

First Nations-led water protectors have called for mass protests after the US Army Corps of Engineers granted the final approval on February 7 for Energy Transfer Partners (ETP) to resume building the widely opposed Dakota Access pipeline (DAPL).

The approval came after President Donald Trump overturned an Obama administration order to halt construction under Lake Oahe, a large reservoir connected to the Missouri River that provides water to the Standing Rock Indian Reservation in North Dakota and South Dakota.

A trade union leader who has been in the forefront of industrial action for more than a month against Sri Lanka’s main telecommunications provider has gone missing after court orders banning protests led by his union.

The wife of M Sujeewa Mangala, the vice-president of the All Ceylon Telecommunication Employees’ Union, has lodged a complaint at a police station in the Colombo suburbs that her husband did not come home on December 29 as expected.

Police in North Dakota arrested 76 people at the Standing Rock protest camp on February 1 as the Army Corp of Engineers cleared the way to continue construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) through Native American land.

The US$3.78 billion DAPL project involves building a 1886-kilometre long pipeline to shift almost half-a-million barrels of oil a day. Its route passes through Native American land on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation, threatening water supplies and sacred sites.

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