Social Justice E-Zine #18

goforth at igc.apc.org goforth at igc.apc.org
Sat Apr 27 00:34:25 MDT 1996


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  "Are we not the same people who worked, prayed, planned and
   dreamed of a country where the idea of freedom was in the
   national conscience, and dignity was a part of the national
   framework?"
            -Maya Angelou

             SOCIAL JUSTICE #18
               April 26, 1996
                    Ray Goforth
                    Kim Goforth

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IN THIS ISSUE:

1) OPENING NOTES ON THE ZINE
2) VISIT THE WEB VERSION OF SOCIAL JUSTICE
3) BRAZIL: INDEPENDENT INVESTIGATION CRUCIAL IN LATEST MASS
   KILLING OF LANDLESS PEASANTS
4) GREENPEACE APPEALS FOR THE CLOSURE OF CHERNOBYL
5  LAWYER'S COMMITTEE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS CONCERNED ABOUT CUBAN
   DISSIDENTS
6) U.S. LABOR ORGANIZATION DENOUNCES ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT BEATINGS

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   Welcome to the latest issue of SOCIAL JUSTICE E-ZINE.  The name
Social Justice encompasses the struggles of people everywhere who
work for gender equality, democratic government, economic
opportunity, intellectual freedom, environmental protection, and
human rights.
   Social Justice is an electronic magazine (e-zine) designed for
free distribution through the internet. Feel free to make copies
and share with friends (or enemies).  Think of this as a regular
magazine without the recycling.  If there's nothing you want to
read in this issue, just hit delete.
   Those wishing to be added to the subscription list (or
conversely, those who want off the list) should write to us at:

goforth at igc.apc.org

Some of our other projects:

Progressive Web Site:  http://www.geocities.com/capitolhill/2915
Feminist Web Site:  http://www.geocities.com/capitolhill/2995
Ray's Personal Site:  http://www.geocities.com/capitolhill/2115

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VISIT THE WEB VERSION OF SOCIAL JUSTICE!!!!!!!

The web version features direct e-mail and web links to related
information as well as the individuals and organizations published
in each issue.

Social Justice Web Zine #18
http://www.tripod.com/~goforth/socialjustice.html

Social Justice Web Zine #17
http://www.tripod.com/~goforth/sjback.html

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This News Service is posted by the International Secretariat of
Amnesty International,
1 Easton Street, London WC1X 8DJ
(Tel +44-71-413-5500, Fax +44-71-956-1157)
AINS at GN.APC.ORG

BRAZIL: INDEPENDENT INVESTIGATION CRUCIAL IN LATEST MASS KILLING
OF LANDLESS PEASANTS

   Amnesty International condemned this week's apparent excessive
use of force by military police against demonstrators in the
Brazilian state of Para, and is calling for guarantees that
investigations into the incident will be conducted independently.
   At least 20 people were killed when military police opened fire
late on Wednesday 17 April 1996 while attempting to disperse
demonstrators  near the town of Eldorado do Carajas, about 430
miles (692km) south of Belem, capital of Para state.
   "A full and independent investigation is crucial in order to
bring those responsible for these killings to justice," said an
Amnesty International staff member accompanying the investigation
in Para state, northern Brazil.
   "This appears to be part of a pattern of violence against
land-rights demonstrators by military police which is supported by
a climate of impunity."
   Amnesty International is calling for a full and independent
investigation. This should include independent forensic
examination of the dead and wounded by a body which is separate
>from the police force involved. The Brazilian authorities should
take immediate steps to ensure that sufficient federal
investigators are brought in to the area and that they are able to
collect, store and protect evidence without hindrance or
intimidation.
   Around 2,000 landless peasants connected to the Movimento de
Trabalhadores Rurais Sem terra (MST) Movement for Landless Rural
Workers were blockading a road. Some reports state that
demonstrators threw stones at police, and that some of them may
have been armed with handguns. Twenty bodies were recovered and 40
people are reported wounded, including five police officers.
   Amnesty International is concerned at reports that some corpses
display bullet wounds to the head, indicating that unlawful
killings may have been carried out. The organization has also
received reports that a number of demonstrators are missing.
   The MST campaigns for land reform by organizing demonstrations
and land occupations in many states throughout Brazil. Amnesty
International has been monitoring a recent increase in violent
confrontations between police and the MST, and has repeatedly
expressed its concern at the frequent reports of excessive use of
force by military police. For example, in August 1995, six
peasants were killed by military police in Corumbiara, Rondonia
State.  Amnesty International has expressed concern about the
removal of evidence.

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GREENPEACE APPEALS FOR THE CLOSURE OF CHERNOBYL

   Greenpeace Appeals to President Kuchma To Close Chernobyl by
the 10th Anniversary of the Disaster.
   Monday 22nd April 1996, Kiev, Ukraine.  Greenpeace today
presented President Kuchma with a symbolic coffin, to mark this
weeks 10th Anniversary of the Chernobyl accident and appealed for
the immediate closure of the station in respect for the millions
of people who are suffering as a result of the accident.
   Seventy (70) Greenpeace activists entered the territory of the
Presidential administration and held a mock funeral for the
Chernobyl nuclear power plant.   Activists were carrying crosses
each of which were inscribed with the name of those villages and
town evacuated as a result of the accident.  Inside the "coffin"
is a model of the Chernobyl station.
   "For 10 years the world has waited for the permanent closure of
Chernobyl", said Olexi Kabyka of Greenpeace Ukraine, "The
President of Ukraine has the power to order the closure of
Chernobyl, he must do this in memory of those that have died and
in respect for the thousands which will die as a result of the
accident."
   On Saturday 20th leaders of the G7, Russia and Ukraine met to
discuss nuclear safety and the future of Chernobyl.   Despite the
expectations the first G7 summit on Nuclear safety failed to make
firmer the plans around the closure of Chernobyl, never mind an
agreeing to close down the other reactors which should be shut
immediately for safety reasons.
   Over the last weeks and months there have been a number of
international conferences, which despite the efforts of the
nuclear lobby, have shown both the impossibility of making the
RMBK (Chernobyl type) reactors acceptably safe and the devastating
consequences of a nuclear accident.
   "The risks are too great and the consequences too large for the
continual operation of Chernobyl, President Kuchma, must show
leadership where the leaders of G7 and Russia failed and close
Chernobyl." said Kabyka.
   Greenpeace is also appealing to the head of Governments of the
European Union and G7 countries to make immediate pledges of
support for non-nuclear energy aid for Ukraine to assist with the
closure of Chernobyl.

For further information contact:

Olexi Kabyka:   (380 44)  244 3833  mobile  050 240 0258
Antony Froggatt: (380 44)  244 3834  mobile 050 240 0258

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APRIL 15, 1996
LAWYER'S COMMITTEE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS CONCERNED ABOUT CUBAN
DISSIDENTS

   The Lawyers Committee for Human Rights is seriously concerned
by the prison sentences recently imposed on leading members of the
Concilio Cubano, a recently organized  national coalition of
dissident groups.  It is also concerned by criminal charges and
acts of harassment directed at other members of the Concilio in
recent weeks.
   Dr. Leonel Morejon Almagro, an attorney and the national
organizer of the Concilio Cubano, has received an increased prison
term after a prosecutor appealed his initial sentence after being
convicted of the crime of "resistance", an offense under Penal
Code article 143.  His colleague, L zaro Gonz lez, deputy
organizer of the Concilio, has begun serving a 14-month sentence,
for "disrespect" and "disobedience".  The first conviction is
believed to have been based on Mr. Gonzalez's failure to cease his
activities on behalf of the Concilio despite several warnings from
Cuban officials to do so. The reported basis for the second charge
was allegations that  Dr. Morejon's relatives delayed in opening
the door of their residence when the police arrived to arrest him.
   Concilio members Rafael Solano and Eugenio Rodriguez were
released from detention but remain subject to charges .  Mr.
Solano is reportedly facing charges of association to commit
crimes, stemming from his work as director of the Habana Press, an
independent news agency belonging to Concilio Cubano.  Mr.
Rodriguez, the head of  a member group of the Concilio known as
the Jose Mart! Democratic Block, faces a similar charge as well as
one of "dangerousness" under Cuba's penal code.   The maximum
sentences for these two crimes are three and four years,
respectively.  Relatives of Mr. Solano report receiving serious
threats of violence, and had alleged that his lawyers' access to
him had been severely restricted by prison authorities.
   Dr. Morejon was initially sentenced to six months imprisonment
following his trial on charges of "resistance." At an appeal
hearing requested by the prosecution, the State argued that Dr.
Morejon's sentence the maximum for the crime in question   was
insufficiently harsh.  The court then added a nine-month prison
term for the crime of "disrespect."
   The Concilio Cubano, whose activities are peaceful, has
attempted to normalize its legal status by submitting
applications for formal recognition as an association.  In late
February 1996, the Concilio was scheduled to convene its first
national congress. However, the planning for that event was met
with a wave of official harassment and arrests involving some
three dozen members of the Concilio.  Cuban authorities also
denied the Concilio's request for permission to hold the congress,
which did not take place as scheduled.  In February, the Lawyers
Committee wrote to President Fidel Castro on behalf of the
Concilio and its detained members.  No reply has been received.
Amnesty International has declared all four of the men to be
prisoners of conscience.
   In recent weeks, Cuban officials have officially declared a
crackdown on dissidents and "fifth columnists,"  and the
prosecutions against leaders of the Concilio appear to be one
manifestation of the authorities' determination to stamp out
dissent.  The arrest and prosecution of Leonel Morejon, L zaro
Gonz lez, Rafael Solano and Eugenio Rodriguez violate
international legal standards.  Similarly, the refusal to permit
the Concilio to carry out protected non-violent activities is a
violation of Cuba's obligation to permit peaceful assembly,
association and expression, fundamental rights set forth in the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  As the Lawyers Committee
has noted in the past, several provisions of Cuban law including
those penal statues used against the Concilio members have been
applied in violation of internationally recognized rights of
association and expression.  Some of the Penal Code's
objectionable provisions are Article 103, which prohibits "enemy
propaganda," and Article 144 which bars "disrespect," statements
which "insult, abuse or in any way offend the dignity or honor of
an authority."  Others, such as Article 143,  which criminalizes
"resistance to an authority ...in the exercise of his functions"
are as apparently illustrated in the case of Mr. Gonzales,
interpreted in a manner which violates basic rights of association
and expression. As long as these provisions remain in effect,
individuals and organizations wishing to conduct legitimate
peaceful activities will continue to be subjected to restrictions
on their rights of association, assembly and speech.

           Recommended Action

Please write politely worded letters calling for the immediate
release of the members of the Concilio who are detained, and
urging the government to ensure the cessation of all acts of
harassment against the Concilio and its members. Please express
concern at reports that members of the Concilio detained or facing
charges have not enjoyed adequate access to counsel of their
choice and have been denied the opportunity to defend themselves
properly in court. Letters should also urge a revision of those
provisions of the Cuban Penal Code, as well as prosecutorial and
administrative practices, which unduly restrict internationally
recognized rights of association, assembly and expression.  Please
send copies of your letters (not noted on the original) to Barbara
Becker at the Lawyers Committee.  If you are writing after May 10,
or if you require further information about the case, please
contact Ms. Becker at (212) 629-6170 ext. 156.

          Appeals to:

Dr. Juan Escalona Reguera
Attorney General of the Republic
Fiscaliaa General de la Republica
San Rafael 3
La Habana, CUBA
Fax: 011 53 7 333164
Salutation: Dear Attorney General

The Lawyer-to-Lawyer Network of the Lawyer Committee for Human
Rights:

The Lawyer-to-Lawyer Network has mobilized lawyers secure under
the rule of law to intervene directly on behalf of their
vulnerable colleagues.  Since 1987, the Network has grown to
number over 1,000 lawyers, judges, law professors, students, bar
associations and other legal groups located in the U.S. and over
130 other countries.  More than 200 persecuted legal professionals
have been targeted for Network appeals.

For any additional information about the Lawyer-to-Lawyer
Network, please contact Barbara Becker at the Lawyers Committee.
Tel: (212) 629-6170, ext. 56; fax: (212) 967-0916;
E-mail: beckerb at lchr.org

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U.S. LABOR ORGANIZATION DENOUNCES ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT BEATINGS

AFL-CIO News - April 22, 1996

   The labor movement, whose members often have been brutalized
for seeking a better life, strongly condemned the beatings of two
suspected undocumented Mexican immigrants by sheriff's deputies
after a high-speed chase in Riverside County, California, USA.
   The beatings "hit close to home," AFL-CIO Executive Vice
President Linda Chavez-Thompson said. "America's unions have all
too often felt the brunt of police batons when they rained down on
janitors peacefully marching in Century City and on peaceful
drywall construction workers protesting throughout Southern
California.
   "Our movement will not tolerate this type of police brutality,
nor will we excuse officers because the situation is volatile and
fraught with emotion," said Chavez-Thompson, a second-generation
Mexican-American. "This is not a question of immigration rights,
but of basic civil and human rights."
   The Labor Council for Latin American Advancement also decried
the climate of politically motivated immigrant bashing that spawns
such "brutish" behavior against people "whose only crime is to
cross the border to earn enough to feed their hungry families."
   Saying it was "horrified" by the beatings, LCLAA said the
incident is a "classic example of the dangers inherent in an
anti-immigrant climate fostered by those who seek political
advantage by scapegoating immigrants, in this case, Mexican
immigrants, or by falsely blaming them for all the ills of our
society."
   "We must acknowledge that this incident is symptomatic of a
more widespread illness in the land, the growth of intolerance and
racism, most of it focused against minorities and people of
color," LCLAA President Ralph F. Jimenez and Executive Director
Alfredo C.  Montoya said in a statement.
   The only way to resolve the problem of undocumented
immigration, they said, is to "build up the Mexican economy so
that it can absorb and provide a decent standard of living for its
work force."

Questions or Comments? Please drop us a line at:
feedback at aflcio.org

Copyright AFL-CIO and Webworks Internet Consulting Company

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For those who have inquired:  We (Ray and Kim Goforth) spent
several years doing progressive political organizing work in
southern California.  We moved to Seattle, Washington, USA in 1988
where we took positions with different social service agencies. In
1995, we both completed undergraduate degrees in political-economy
at The Evergreen State College.  We are currently law students at
the University of Washington.  Kim's area of interest is women's
and children's advocacy.  Ray's is sustainable development and
human rights.

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