Sudan: Bashir bludgeoning his way toward re-election?
By: John Norris, Enough, March 9, 2009
Over the weekend, I heard an interesting take on President Bashirís decision to expel key humanitarian relief agencies working in Sudan from a colleague. He noted that Bashir may well see winning the upcoming national election in Sudan as his best hope for staving off the arrest warrant from the International Criminal Court. The decision to expel aid agencies may be directly designed to break apart some of the largest displaced persons camps in Darfur, where the U.N. has declared that more than one million people are now at risk of a grave humanitarian emergency.
Ethiopia takes Africa film honor
By: BBC News, March 8, 2009
An Ethiopian film about the regime of the country's former dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam has won the chief prize at Africa's main movie awards ceremony.  Teza was the unanimous winner of the Golden Stallion of Yennenga at the event in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.
Zimbabwe PM Tsvangirai flown to Botswana
By: Reuters, March 7, 2009
Zimbabwe's Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai was flown to neighbouring Botswana to recuperate and rest after leaving hospital following a car crash which injured him and killed his wife, a source from his MDC party said on Saturday.
Two Kenyan rights activists slain
By: Stephanie McCrummen, Washington Post, March 7, 2009
Human rights groups, U.N. officials and Kenya's prime minister on Friday called for an independent investigation into the execution-style killings of two Kenyan human rights activists, as political tensions are once again rising in this East African nation.
Bolivia expels US diplomat for 'conspiracy'
By: AFP, March 9, 2009
Bolivian President Evo Morales on Monday ordered the expulsion of a senior US diplomat in the country, accusing him of participating in a "conspiracy" against Bolivia's far-left government. Francisco Martinez, the second secretary of the US embassy in La Paz, was "persona non grata," Morales said in a public address at his official palace. Martinez, he said, "was in permanent contact with opposition groups during the entire period of the conspiracy," which he said caused anti-government unrest that rocked much of the country in September 2008.

Peru mining conflicts 'growing critical'
By: One World, March 6, 2009
Most Peruvians don't benefit from the country's lucrative mining industry, and the increasing violence this situation has spurred threatens local communities, says a new report by an international anti-poverty organization.
Cuba poised between past and future
By: Marcelo BallvÈ, WPR, March 6, 2009
While standing trial in the early 1950s for his initial, failed attempt to overthrow the Cuban government, Fidel Castro famously declared: "History will absolve me." Ever since, he has manipulated, rewritten and exploited history to advance his political ends.
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Venezuela's determined voice of dissent
By: Juan Forero, Washington Post, February 25, 2009
Days after President Hugo Ch·vez won a referendum to eliminate term limits, Congressman Juan JosÈ Molina stood up in the National Assembly and called the victory "a major fraud" made possible by weak institutions and a populace manipulated by an omnipresent government. As is often the case when Molina takes the podium, his colleagues -- all but a handful devoted to Ch·vez -- tried to shut him down with a flurry of catcalls.
Bangladesh imposes YouTube block
By: BBC News, March 9, 2009
The video-sharing web site YouTube has been blocked by Bangladesh after a recording of a meeting between the PM and army officers was posted.  The meeting took place two days after a mutiny by border guards in Dhaka that left more than 70 people dead. The recordings cover about 40 minutes of a three-hour meeting and reveal how angry many in the military were at the government's handling of the crisis.
China 'will not have democracy'
By: BBC News, March 9, 2009
China will never adopt Western-style democracy with a multi-party system, its top legislator has said. Parliament chief Wu Bangguo said that China would draw on the achievements of all cultures but would not "simply copy" the West. Communist Party leadership should be strengthened and "the correct political orientation" maintained, he said.
China launches first website on Tibet human rights
By: China View, March 9, 2009
China's first website featuring human rights in the Tibet Autonomous Region ( went online Monday.   The site contains more than 10 channels including Tibet Today, History and Truth, Documents, Opinion, Photos and Videos. Information is posted in Chinese, English, French and German.   The China Society for Human Rights Studies, the sponsor, said the site was launched to mark the 50th anniversary of the democratic reform and serfs' emancipation in Tibet, which began in 1959.
Months before Tiananmen Anniversary, China refuses entry to exiled student leader
By: CHRD, March 9, 2009
Yi Danxuan, a former student leader in Guangzhou during the 1989 pro-democracy movement, was denied entry into China on March 7. Yi, now an American citizen, was barred from entering China three months before the 20th anniversary of the authoritiesí bloody crackdown of the movement.
China: Tensions high in advance of Tibet anniversary
By: Jaime FlorCruz, CNN, March 9, 2009
March 10 marks the 50th anniversary of the failed Tibetan uprising against Chinese rule and the chasm between Beijing and critics of its Tibet policies remains deep and wide.  Pro-Tibet supporters have marched in London and other cities to mark the anniversary. "Tibetans have had enough Chinese rule," said Matt Wiskase, a protest organizer in London. "They emphatically reject Chinese rule in Tibet and they want to be free."
Freedom of expression ìsystematically violatedî in Tibet
By: RSF, March 9, 2009
Reporters Without Borders is outraged by the systematic violation of press freedom and free expression in Tibet. Foreign journalists are finding it increasingly difficult to visit the Himalayan province and free speech is being suppressed even more ruthlessly there than in the rest of China. In the past few days, the editor of a Tibetan website has been arrested, a Tibetan culture website has been closed and SMS services have been suspended in parts of Sichuan province.
Home-made bombs thrown at police amid Tibetan crackdown
By: Tania Branigan, BBC News, March 9, 2009
Angry crowds lobbed home-made explosives in a Tibetan area of western China early this morning, damaging a police car and fire engine, state media reported.  The attack came amid a security crackdown on the eve of the 50th anniversary of the failed uprising against Chinese rule, which led to the Dalai Lama's flight into exile.
Vietnam: Vietnamese war veterans resisting government decision to take away their land
By: On Global Trends, March 8, 2009
A support group for seriously wounded Vietnamese war veterans is resisting a government decision to take away their land in central Hanoi. Land disputes are increasing in Vietnam as urban property values rise.

North Koreans vote in election seen as clue to succession
By: Jun Kwanwoo, AFP, March 8, 2009
North Koreans voted on Sunday in elections for a new parliament which analysts say could pave the way for an eventual transition of power in the impoverished communist nation.  The vote is also being closely monitored around the world for clues as to whether the state, which tested an atomic weapon in October 2006, will soften its stance in international negotiations and dismantle its nuclear arsenal.
Thailand: Police target websites unflattering to royalty
By: Marwaan Macan-Markar, Democracy for Burma, March 8, 2009
As if the countryís draconian lese-majeste laws are not harsh enough, Thailandís thought police have another weapon, the computer crimes law, to curtail the space for free expression.  Friday saw a new low in this South-east Asian country when the police raided the Bangkok office of ëPrachataií, a popular alternative news website, to arrest its editor, Chiranuch Premchaiporn.
Seeking justice, Chinese land in secret jails
By: Andrew Jacobs, NY Times, March 8, 2009
They are often tucked away in the rough-and-tumble sections of the cityís south side, hidden beneath dingy hotels and guarded by men in dark coats. Known as ìblack houses,î they are unofficial jails for the pesky hordes of petitioners who flock to the capital seeking justice.  This month, Wang Shixiang, a 48-year-old businessman from Heilongjong Province, came to Beijing to agitate for the prosecution of corrupt policemen. Instead, he was seized and confined to a dank room underneath the Juyuan Hotel with 40 other abducted petitioners.
Tibetan women held for protesting in western China
By: AP, March 7, 2009
Authorities detained a nun and another woman protesting in a Tibetan area of western China to demand religious freedom and the return of the Dalai Lama to Tibet, an overseas advocacy group said Saturday.  Beijing has ramped up security in Tibetan regions of China ahead of the 50th anniversary Tuesday of the failed uprising that forced the Dalai Lama, Tibet's spiritual leader, into exile. Next weekend will mark the first anniversary of a series of anti-government protests in and around Tibet's capital of Lhasa that officials say left 22 people dead.
Police arrest Thai website editor
By: Jonathon Head, BBC News, March 6, 2009
Police in Thailand have arrested the editor of a leading political website, on charges of carrying content that threatens national security.  The Bangkok-based Prachatai website is well-known for carrying content that Thai newspapers will not publish.
Punished supplicants: Chinaís silenced citizens
By: Jamil Anderlini, FT, March 5, 2009
As dawn breaks over Beijingís ancient Gate of Eternal Stability, a large crowd gathers in its shadow, in an alleyway just inside the old city walls.  The scene, however, is anything but stable. Those gathered there are from the countryís downtrodden, people with grievances against the government who have made their way to the capital to petition Chinaís modern-day mandarins.
Kyrgyz journalists in shock at attack on colleague
By: HRT, March 9, 2009
A brutal attack which left a Kyrgyz reporter in intensive care with multiple stab wounds is the most alarming sign yet that journalists in this Central Asian state face high risks when they report on controversial political issues, media analysts say.,4210
Georgia, a nation stalled on the road to democracy
By: Phillip Pan, Washington Post, March 9, 2009
Mikheil Saakashvili strode into Parliament like a returning hero, basking in applause. Five years earlier, he had burst into the same chamber with a rose in his hand and a crowd behind him, toppling the old autocratic regime. Now, as a second-term president, he was back for a debate, surrounded by cheering lawmakers.
UK: The voices in G20's chorus of protest
By: Ed Vulliamy and Richard Rogers, Guardian, March 8, 2009
The G20 summit of industrialized nations in London next month will be marked by one of the biggest demonstrations since a million people marched against war in Iraq in 2003.  On that Saturday, the issue was simple. This time the protest - although it draws on equally diverse social and political quarters - is a complex weave of movements and priorities united by one emotion: a disgust at the latest incarnation of capitalism that demands a different way of organizing the economy of the planet.
Egyptian activists in the US call for democratic reform
By: Nader Ramadan, Daily News, March 9, 2009
Egyptian political activists in the US sent a letter to President Hosni Mubarak last week requesting the implementation of five main democratic reforms, according to the website ìThe Alliance of Egyptian Americans.î  ìWe call upon you to open a new chapter in Egyptian-American relations by reaffirming Egyptís respect for human rights, social justice, and principles of democracy,î read the letter. ìThe Egyptian people have the right to enjoy freedom, dignity and good governance.î

The first ladies of the Arab world blaze a trail for women's rights
By: Helene Smith, Guardian, March 8, 2009
Habitually dressed in a long black abaya, with a veil placed firmly against her cheek, Shaikha Sabeeka bint Ibrahim Al Khalifa, the wife of the king of Bahrain, does not conform to the usual image of a political activist. Neither does Suzanne Mubarak, the demure, whippet-thin wife of Egypt's long-standing leader, Hosni Mubarak.

In Morocco, it all began on March 8th: Feminism and fatwas
By: Open Democracy, March 8, 2009
Twenty one years after the publication of Morocco's first feminist magazine called ëMarch 8th' Moroccan women won profound changes in their status when the Family law (Mudawana) was reformed in 2004. Jane Gabriel has been in Rabat speaking to Latifa Jbabdi and Fatima Outaleb, two of the women behind the reform, about the strategies the women's movement has adopted over the years to deal with their main opponent, the conservative Islamic authorities.
To listen to podcast:
Israel: We'll protest as long as it takes
By: Ahiya Raved, YNet, March 8, 2009
Kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit's  parents, Noam and Aviva, moved into a protest tent outside Ehud Olmert's official Jerusalem residence Sunday morning, after the outgoing prime minister said over the weekend that the demonstrations calling for Shalit's release were unhelpful.,7340,L-3682683,00.html
Iranian dissident dies in prison
By: AFP, March 7, 2009
Iranian political dissident Amir-Hossein Heshmat Saran has died in a prison after suffering a heart attack, an activist lawyer said on Saturday.  Heshmat Saran, founder of the National Democratic Front, which advocates a peaceful change of regime in Iran, "died on Friday morning following a cardiac arrest," Mohammad Saleh Nikbakht told AFP.  Saran was jailed in 2004 for eight years, said Nikbakht, spokesman for an association representing rights of prisoners.
Nonviolent demonstration in Nal'en becomes face-off with Israeli bulldozers
By: PNN, March 7, 2009
After Friday prayers on the land near the site of the work of the bulldozers in western Ramallahís Nalíen Village, dozens of people resisted.  The nonviolent demonstration was joined by international supporters holding signs condemning occupation. The Wall cuts through the townís land and during this Friday demonstration Israeli bulldozers worked at destroying more.
Against all odds: The building of a women's movement in the Islamic Republic of Iran
By: Homa Hoodfar, January 1, 2009
This paper outlines how advocates in Iran have worked toward mobilising women and building a robust women's movement. For instance, there had been a call for a rally for gender equality in front of the Majilis (Parliament) to mark IWB 2007. Prior to this event, many of the leaders of the movement had organized a demonstration in front of the court, in support of those who were arrested in an earlier demonstration, to insist that peaceful protests and the right to organize and demonstrate were granted to all citizens under the constitution.
Alsace Sommet de l'Otan : Exercice de "dÈsobÈissance civile" des "anti" ‡ Strasbourg
By: Le Pays, March 8, 2009
Une cinquantaine de militants anti-Otan ont prÈsentÈ dimanche aprËs-midi ‡ Strasbourg un exercice public de ´dÈsobÈissance civileª, un mois avant le sommet qui doit se tenir les 3 et 4 avril ‡ Strasbourg et Baden-Baden pour le 60e anniversaire de l'Alliance atlantique.  Lors de la dÈmonstration, organisÈe place de la RÈpublique, les militants de l'alliance de collectifs ´bloquer l'Otanª (´Block Natoª), majoritairement des FranÁais et des Allemands, ont prÈsentÈ quelques techniques non-violentes, comme par exemple contourner pacifiquement les barrages policiers.
Reporte sobre la situaciÛn de Derechos Humanos en Cuba
By: Cuba Nuetra Digital, Carlos Manuel EstefanÌa, March 7, 2009
Este es un breve relato general sobre la situaciÛn de Derechos Humanos en Cuba durante el mes de Enero, que recoge solamente los actos m·s significativos, como: encarcelamientos, arrestos, golpizas, allanamientos de moradas, prohibiciÛn de salir de las viviendas y citaciones para las unidades policiales.
The hardest fight
By: Amy Zimet, Common Dreams, March 8, 2009
Of all the rallies and marches in honor of International Women's Day, the most inspiring have to be those drawing the thousands of women who had to fight hardest to get there. Many are the women of poor Muslim countries who daily face rape, beatings, forced marriages, honor killings, domestic violence ñ never mind the garden-variety discrimination of developed countries ñ with little recourse to legal or political help.
A little equality could save a lot of (womenís) lives
By: HRT, March 7, 2009
When government officials meet at the end of this year for a critical U.N. climate change conference in Copenhagen, they should bear in mind that the mortality rate for women during climate-related disasters is an average of 14 times higher than for men.,4206
Gender matters
By: Rosemary Bechler and Jane Powell, Open Democracy, March 6, 2009
In celebration of International Women's Day, 2009, Jane Powell, formerly of Greenham Common, talks to 50.50 editor, Rosemary Bechler, about the role women and girls might play in improving the prospects for one of the most delicate conversations of all.  Jane Powell has devoted a large part of her life to two very different universes, both of which are based on gender identity - Greenham Common where women chose a different way of life, and the campaign against living miserably (CALM), aimed at bringing the suicide rate down among young men. Jane launched CALM as a pilot for the UK's Department of Health in Manchester in 1997, and returned to launch it as a charity in 2006.
We urge you, on March 12th, to champion the vision of the Internet as a free space for everyone
By: RSF, March 6, 2009
World Day Against Cyber Censorship is a day to advance and celebrate a free Internet as an open window to the world and denounce the attacks made on the free flow of information online. In the spirit of fostering freedom of expression, we are asking that you do not censor any of your search engines or blog platforms anywhere around the world on this day.