Archive for the NEWS Category

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Posted in Awareness, NEWS, Spotlight with tags , on October 12, 2010 by Mijiza Zeyzey

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Remembering the World Conference against Racism

Posted in Awareness, CULTURE, HISTORY, Humanity with tags , , , on October 10, 2010 by Mijiza Zeyzey

In 1997, the General Assembly of the United Nations planned the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance.


“As we see all around us, racism and racial discrimination continue unabated. Although we refer to our world as a global village, it is a world sadly lacking in the sense of closeness towards neighbour and community which the word village implies . . . there are problems stemming from either a lack of respect for, or lack of acceptance of, the inherent dignity and equality of all human beings . . ”

– Mary Robinson, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights March 24, 1999.

The World Conference was held in Durban, South Africa from August 31 to September 7, 2001. It was intended as a landmark in the struggle to eradicate all forms of racism. Governments were asked to “deliver on their promises and make it a conference of actions not just words”.

Combating racial discrimination is a principle of the United Nations as stated in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights. “Faith in fundamental human rights, in dignity and worth of the human person” is stated in the preamble. The Conference focused on achieving these objectives:

  • Review progress made and reassess obstacles since the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Right
  • Increase awareness of racism and racial discrimination
  • Formulate ways to increase effectiveness of UN activities and programs aimed at combating racism
  • Consider ways and means to better apply existing standards of combating racism
  • Build the UN resources necessary in the combat against racism
  • Review political, historical, economic, social, cultural, and other factors to racism and racial discrimination
  • Formulate action-oriented national, regional, and international measures aimed at combating racism and racial discrimination

Sadly, the delegates from the U.S. and Israel walked out of the Conference and joined 15 nations in a boycott.  Nine nations boycotted the Conference entirely.

Boycotting nations:

  • Canada
  • Israel
  • Italy
  • Germany
  • Netherlands
  • Australia
  • New Zealand
  • Poland
  • United States

Six nations that limited their participation:

  • Denmark
  • Sweden
  • Czech Republic
  • European Union
  • France
  • United Kingdom

The inability to come together in the common goal to end racism is also reflected in the fact that empowering victims of racism is not included as a Millennium Development Goal.//

UNiTE to End Violence Against Women Campaign

Posted in Awareness, Latin America, NEWS with tags , , , , , on October 8, 2010 by Mijiza Zeyzey

The United Nations Secretary General will launch the UNiTE to End Violence Against Women Campaign in November. The Caribbean project of the United Nations Secretary General will provide participants an opportunity to learn from each other’s experiences and make a collective move forward.

Barbados will host a conference on October 11th -12th which the Attorney General, members of the judiciary, senior representatives of regional police forces and members of civil society organizations will attend. The theme of the conference is:

“Strengthening Accountability and Changing Culture to End Violence against Women in the Caribbean.”

Michelle Gyles-McDonnough, UN residence coordinator for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, expressed her delight with the attendance of:

  • Caribbean nationals
  • President of the International Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia
  • Judge Patrick Robinson – former Jamaican Deputy Solicitor General and President of the International Tribunal for Rwanda
  • Sir Dennis Byron – former Chief Justice of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court and native of Saint Kitts and Nevis

The International Criminal Tribunals have investigated sexual violence in relation to torture and crimes against humanity.

Roberta Clarke, Regional Programme Director for the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM, a part of UN Women) said,

“So one of the questions the Presidents will be addressing will be, ‘What are the lessons that have been learnt at the international level, and how can those lessons be translated in strengthening the law response at the national domestic levels?’ Through their participation here at the conference, we hope very much for their reflections on the relationship between ending violence against women, strengthening democracy, citizenship and human rights”

For more information contact:

UNIFEM (part of UN Women) VAW Specialist, Tonni-Ann Brodber at



Communications Specialist, Sharon Carter-Burke at



U.S. Syphilis Experiments on People of Color / Crimes Against Humanity

Posted in HISTORY, Humanity, NEWS, North America, Our Health, South America with tags , , , , , , , on October 3, 2010 by Mijiza Zeyzey

From 1932 to 1972 the U.S. Public Health Service in Tuskegee, Alabama conducted a “clinical study” using poor African American sharecroppers to research the progression of untreated syphilis. Approximately 400 poor men of African descent were enticed into the program with free meals, medical exams, and burial insurance. They were never told they had syphilis. They were told they were being treated for “bad blood”, a term used at the time in the African American community for illness with fatigue symptoms. Actually, they were never treated. This “study” became known as the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment or the Tuskegee Experiment.

According to a Reuters article on Oct. 1st, President Obama offered his personal apology for another syphilis experiment. This time researchers deliberately infected 696 Guatemalan women, mental patients, and prison inmates with the disease. This “study” was to learn the effectiveness of penicillin in treating syphilis. It was conducted from 1946 to 1948.

Guatemalan government released this statement:

“President Alvaro Colom considers these experiments crimes against humanity and Guatemala reserves the right to denounce them in an international court.”

Susan Reverby, a professor of women’s studies at Wellesley College in Massachusetts uncovered the “study” while investigating the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment and informed the U.S. government before she published her findings.

Spies, Informants, and Lies . . . Oh My!

Posted in HISTORY, NEWS, North America with tags , , , , , on October 2, 2010 by Mijiza Zeyzey

During the Civil Rights Movement, the FBI employed spies to infiltrate major organizations whose mission was to accomplish equality for all citizens. These spies would become active members of the organization and maintain an presence in the Civil Rights Movement. Informants were paid by the FBI to befriend leaders such as the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and more. Recently, an article in Memphis Commercial Appeal newspaper used FBI records to reveal one such spy. He was known as a civil rights photojournalist. He is remembered as one of the men in room 306 (Dr. King’s room) at the Lorraine Hotel when Rev. King was assassinated.

According to the New York Times, civil rights photojournalist, Ernest C. Withers collaborated with two FBI agents on the activities of several civil rights leaders. The Memphis’ Commercial Appeal newspaper published the result of a two year investigation and used open FBI records as evidence. Ernest Withers died in 2007 at age 85.

Historian Athan Theoharis expressed his shock and called Withers’ actions an “amazing betrayal”. Withers, a former police officer, had been nicknamed the ‘original civil rights photographer”. Withers captured the heart of the movement in well known images. He was the photographer behind the “I Am a Man” photo of the sanitation strike. He was the only photographer to cover the Emmitt Till trial. He was also known for the photo of Rev. King, riding in one the first desegregated buses in Montgomery, Alabama.

Former Atlanta Mayor, then a civil right organizer, Andrew Young said, “It’s not surprising . . . we knew that everything we did was bugged, although, we didn’t suspect Withers individually.

Other reactions included “sadness, dismay, and disbelief”. Civil rights rally organizer of the time, Rev. James Lawson Jr., said, “If it is true, then Ernie abused our friendship.”

Acid Attack Falsely Reported / Imaginary Black Man is off the Hook

Posted in Awareness, NEWS, North America on September 30, 2010 by Mijiza Zeyzey

Oregon woman claim of an acid attack proves to be a hoax. This time the imaginary black man is off the hook. She blamed it on an imaginary black woman. Bethany Storro doused her face with acid and used money donated by the sympathetic public to go on a shopping spree. One month after having a chemical peel in a doctor’s office, she claims she doused her face because she wanted a new face. She also claims she had a feeling she would need sunglass; the sunglasses saved her vision. Discrepancies such as these cause the people to question her story. The incident happened at night. Hoax crimes committed by men and women who blame it on an imaginary black man (this time an imaginary black women) is not unusual.

1.    In 1989, Charles Stuart shot himself and his pregnant wife and blamed it on the imaginary black man.

2.    In 1994, Susan Smith rolled her car into a lake with her young children strapped in it; she blamed it on the imaginary black man.

3.    In 2008, Ashley Todd carved a mirror-imaged,  letter ‘B’ into her face and yes; she blamed the imaginary black man who was supposed to have been a Barack Obama supporter.

4.    In 2003, Brian Wells walked into a bank with a bomb around his neck and claim a group of imaginary black men made his do it.

Blaming the imaginary black man, men, or woman is evidence of an ideology that reflects racism. The ideology maybe that people of African descent are most believable to have committed these crimes; beware of men (and now women too) of African descent; or all people of African descent look alike thus this occupy authorities’ time. In many cases blaming the imaginary black man has caused a disruption in the black community with law enforcement.

Bethany Storro faces charges for faking the attack. She is also facing possible infections while healing as well as permanent scars from the acid burns.

Free West Papua

Posted in Awareness, Humanity, Oceania with tags , , , on September 24, 2010 by Mijiza Zeyzey

The indigenous people of West Papua are sending this message to the UN and the world:

“40 years ago, all UN members, including the UK, recognised our right to self-determination but until now we have never been allowed to exercise our right freely and legally. We did not want to become Indonesian in 1969and after so many years of Indonesian oppression we certainly do not want to be Indonesian now. We want to be free!”

Benny Wenda – West Papuan Independence Leader in the United Kingdom & Chair of the Koteka Tribal Assembly –  FREE WEST PAPUA CAMPAIGN


In 1957, Indonesia was involved in a dispute with the Netherlands for control over West New Guinea. After four unsuccessful resolution claims to the UN General Assembly, they then tried a threat of military force disguised as diplomacy. Backed by ties with the then Soviet Union, Indonesia was seen as a “real threat of war”. The US then persuaded the Netherlands to accept a compromise involving “self determination” for the indigenous people.

On August 2, 1969, the Indonesian dictator Suharto claimed that 100 percent of the Melanesian people of West Papuan chose to be annexed by Indonesia. This was called the Act of Free Choice. Since then when peaceful protesters try to voice their objection they are met with a military response of killing, torturing, and imprisonment.

Indonesian Crimes Against Humanity:

  • Arrest without trial
  • Police violence and torture
  • Bombed and machine gunned villages
  • Evictions with no prior warning
  • Homes burned to the ground

Many of the people that the police have forced from their homes include families with pregnant mothers, children, and the elderly.

Support the Papua National Consensus Collective Leaders in their petition to the UN General Assembly. In accordance with the International Standards of Human Rights, the principles of International Law, and the Charter of the United Nations, the people of West Papua have the right to self-determination. Show your support by signing the petition.

Special thanks to Andrew for sharing this petition!