First Afghan Woman Elected to CEDAW – 8/4/2008
“China Unveils Frightening Futuristic Police State at Olympics” (Naomi Klein, Alternet)
Amnesty International: China Olympic Legacy
Despite promises, the 2008 Olympics will be marred by repeated abuses of freedom of speech.
Undermining the “Olympic Spirit” and reneging on their commitments the Chinese government has detained journalists, limited access to information and violently suppressed protesters. International and National Olympic Committees have also discouraged athletes from exercising their right to free speech and ignored international human rights standards.
According to the IOC Fundamental Principles, “Olympism is a…respect for universal fundamental ethical principles…The goal of Olympism is to place sport at the service of the harmonious development of man, with a view to promoting a peaceful society concerned with the preservation of human dignity.”
RECENT ARTICLES IN THE PRESS:
» Athletes condemn China human rights
» China denies visas to Olympians that write about Sudan
» IOC official accuses IOC of “betrayal”
» Human Rights worsening in countdown to the Olympics
interesting, this almost seems like “Challenging Rape Culture” (and v.a.w. in general) at an institutional level:
“A huge job for the boys” (Guardian, July 30 2008) – The minister for police, security and community safety tells Julie Bindel how he wants men to take a more responsible attitude towards domestic and sexual violence against women – and to spread the word to others
and he’s hitting mostly right notes!
“The majority of men don’t abuse women, but there is a responsibility on men to speak up and speak out about it,” he says. “The noise that men have made about it in the past has never been loud enough. I think that’s a perspective I can bring to the whole discussion.”
Coaker is pushing forward the need to debate tricky issues such as rape, sexual assault and male demand for prostitution, and repeatedly emphasises how proud he is to be part of a process of engagement with citizens about a topic as emotiveas violence towards women. “I have always tried to be frank and upfront about things, and to go out of my way to engage,” he says. “For me, it is not about just maintaining the status quo, but looking at effective ways to deal with the problems.”
“This is about the sort of society and communities we want to live in,” Coaker says. “It is about men challenging other men’s behaviour.” Although he has become well-respected among women’s organisations that deal with domestic and sexual violence, there is nothing arrogant in his approach. “The women’s movement has done a fantastic job foregrounding this work,” he says, “What I want to do is to continue making it mainstream.”
Again, the key issue for Coaker is public education. “You make the absolute assertion that rape is a criminal act, one of the most heinous we know, and there will be consequences. It is about teaching respect, and educating men to bring about attitudinal change. It is a massive step forward to discuss these things. Now the challenge is how we move things forward.”
What about Coaker’s plans for the future? While acknowledging the importance of legislation and the role of the criminal justice system, his aim is to prevent crimes from occurring in the first instance.
The leader of a poor community on the outskirts of the Colombian city of Buenaventura has been assassinated by suspected paramilitaries after speaking out against violence at an event held to prevent young people from becoming caught up in the Colombian conflict. Martha Cecilia Obando, 45, was killed in front of the church in the main street of the San Francisco neighbourhood at 7.45pm on Sunday 29th June as she walked home. She was shot three times.
Ms Obando, who was also the President of the Association of Displaced Women (ASODESFRAN), had just finished speaking to a community event attended by some 300 children where women from San Francisco neighbourhood had been teaching the youngsters traditional games from their communities. Virtually all of the people in the neighbourhood are originally from the Charco River basin but have been forced from their homes by paramilitaries with links to the Colombian Army.
Mothers in the area, including Ms Obando, were worried that their children were playing games that included simulated gunfights and other violence rather than traditional children’s games. As a result workshops for kids were established with the help of the Church and Ms Obando. Following her murder the future of the project is uncertain.
The US human rights organisation Human Rights First has set up a web page from which people can protest direct to the Colombian authorities about this most recent killing.