Afghan Parliament Ousts Female Lawmaker

Oh, look, Steve! See what we’re supporting in Afghanistan? I thought someone said that our troops are there to help women and girls.


Afghan Parliament Ousts Female Lawmaker,,-6649078,00.html
*Monday May 21, 2007 12:01 PM*
*Afghan Parliament Ousts Female Lawmaker*
*Associated Press Writer*

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) – Afghanistan’s lower house of parliament voted
Monday to oust an outspoken female lawmaker who has enraged former
mujahedeen fighters now in President Hamid Karzai’s U.S.-backed government.

The lawmaker, Malalai Joya, compared parliament to a stable full of animals
in a recent TV interview.

The video clip was shown in parliament on Monday, and angry lawmakers voted
to suspend her from the body, said Haseb Noori, spokesman for the
parliament. No formal vote count was held, but a clear majority of lawmakers
voted for her suspension by raising colored cards, Noori said.

A parliament rule known as Article 70 forbids lawmakers from criticizing one
another, Noori said.

Joya, 29, said the vote was a “political conspiracy” against her. She said
she had been told Article 70 was written specifically for her, though she
didn’t say who told her that.

“Since I’ve started my struggle for human rights in Afghanistan, for
women’s rights, these criminals, these drug smugglers, they’ve stood against
me from the first time I raised my voice at the Loya Jirga,” she said,
referring to the constitution-drafting convention.

It was not immediately clear if she could appeal against her ouster.

Joya, a women’s rights worker from Farah province, rose to prominence in
2003 when she branded powerful Afghan warlords as criminals during the Loya

Many of the commanders who fought occupying Soviet troops in the 1980s still
control provincial fiefdoms and have been accused of human rights abuses and
corruption. After ousting the Soviets, the militias turned on each other in
a brutal civil war that destroyed most of the capital, Kabul.

Some faction leaders, like former President Burhanuddin Rabbani and Abdul
Rasul Sayyaf, a deeply conservative Islamist, have been elected to
parliament. Others, like northern strongman Abdul Rashid Dostum, were
appointed by Karzai.

Sayed Alami Balkhi, a lawmaker from the northern province of Balkh, said the
speaker of the upper house of parliament sent a letter to the lower house on
Sunday saying that Joya had humiliated and attacked both houses.

“If the lower house does not take a decision about her, we will take a
decision,” Balkhi quoted the letter as saying.

Joya’s outspoken ways have earned her many enemies in Afghanistan. In
February, during a rally to support a proposed amnesty for Afghans suspected
of war crimes, thousands of former fighters shouted “Death to Malalai

Last May, Joya called some lawmakers “warlords” in a speech at parliament,
prompting some parliamentarians to throw water bottles at her. A small
scuffle broke out between her supporters and detractors, and Joya later told
The Associated Press in an interview that some lawmakers threatened to rape
her as payback.

Joya said Monday that if she couldn’t remain in parliament, she would fight
against “criminals” independently. She said if anything were to happen to
her – a reference to a possible assassination attempt – that “everyone
would know” that the people she has criticized like Rabbani or Sayyaf would
be responsible.

“I’m not alone,” Joya told reporters. “The international community is
with me and all the Afghan people are with me.”

Updated to add a link to liberal catnip’s post regarding Peter McKay’s ridiculousity on this issue.

Canadian-led campaign unites women’s organizations on six continents

On the first anniversary of P’n’P entering the Blogosphere comes a call to sign on to the Nairobi Declaration:

Drafted by representatives of women’s rights organizations from six continents and endorsed by leading international human rights advocates including Stephen Lewis, former UN Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa, the Nairobi Declaration is founded on the experiences of women and girl survivors of sexual violence and the expertise of activists and jurists who are helping them rebuild their lives. At the Declaration’s core is the belief that justice for women and girl survivors of sexual violence will never be achieved if reparations programs are not informed and directed by those they are meant to serve. The Nairobi Declaration aims to correct the systemic flaws of national Truth and Reconciliation initiatives and existing reparation schemes and to inform those being developed by the International Criminal Court.The Nairobi Declaration asserts that reparation programs must go beyond mere compensation and restitution. According to the Declaration, adequate reparation and remedy must:

  • Empower women and girls, support their efforts to rebuild trust and relations and foster their participation in social reconstruction. Decision-making about reparations must include victims as full participants.
  • Address social inequalities and discrimination in existence prior to conflict, which lie at the root of violence against women and girls in times of conflict.
  • Promote social justice and encourage the transformation toward a fair and equal society.
  • Emphasize the importance of truth-telling in order to allow women and girls to move ahead and become true citizens. Abuses against women must be named and recognized in order to raise awareness about these crimes and violations, to positively influence a more holistic strategy for reparation and measures that support reparation, and to help build a shared memory and history.

Reparations should provide women and girls with the tools to rebuild their lives not as they were prior to war or conflict, but in ways that address and transform sociocultural injustices and structural inequalities that predate the conflict,” says Ariane Brunet, coordinator of the Coalition for Women’s Human Rights in Conflict Situations. “Women and girls’ right to reparation is not only about restitution, compensation and access to judicial redress, it is about women playing an active role in repairing the social fabric and building afresh a just and equal society.”

The Nairobi Declaration is the first stage in a long-term international campaign on gender reparation. It is intended as a tool to be implemented by States, multilateral agencies, regional agencies and national entities, such as Truth and Reconciliation Commissions.

Read the Nairobi Declaration

Sign the Nairobi Declaration

Get POGGE a Blackberry!

So, like, if any of you know that Cherniak fellow who posts from his Blackberry from time to time, or even that Wells gyu over at McLean’s, maybe you could talk to them and see if they’d loan their fancy little units to our favourite blogger, pogge, who is in hospital and rehab for the next little while after surviving a nasty accident.

I know they’re all entitled to their entitlements, and I mean, it’s not as though the folks over at POGGE aren’t doing a fine enough job.  It’s just that some of us in blogosphere are truly missing the words of his POGGEness and so if any of you can talk to those Blackberried fellas, that’d be great!

Glad to hear you’re on the mend, pogge.

Regressive Cons

Over here you’ll find Law Prof Lorraine Weinrib’s piece, reprinted with permission from the Law Times. It’s an article about Harper and his Justice Minister addressing the Charter’s 25th anniversary. Here’s a sample from it:

Conservatives cling to the old Bill of Rights

Stephen Harper overlooks courts’ role in interpreting Charter.

Dateline: Tuesday, May 15, 2007

by Lorraine Weinrib

Monday, 14 May 2007 The 25th anniversary of the adoption of the Charter, in mid-April, presented the rare opportunity for Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Justice Minister Rob Nicholson to join with many others in expressing their views of the Charter, its place in our constitutional order, and the effect it has had on Canada in its first quarter century.

Neither took advantage of invitations to the formal academic and professional events held to mark the occasion, where they might have presented an expansive account of their views. Their limited comments in the House of Commons in question period are therefore all we have. These statements, despite their brevity, reveal quite a lot.

2475ad.jpgBoth Harper and Nicholson offered partisan responses to questions seeking a comment marking the occasion. Nicholson, for example, stressed that the Conservative party “has an enviable record with respect to human rights in our country” and needed no “lessons from anybody in this Parliament on the subject of human rights.”

He cited the Diefenbaker Bill of Rights and the extension of the franchise by Conservative governments to women and Aboriginal Canadians, indeed the full extension of the franchise, as elements of that “proud history.”

As to his own government’s accomplishments, he noted the federal victims’ ombudsman, stable funding for legal aid, and action on the Chinese head tax. He concluded by noting, “We did things that the Liberal party was never able to get done.”

Harper also took a partisan stance. He stressed the difference between his government, which actually promoted rights, and the Liberal record, which he described as catering to lawyers’ concerns and pocketbooks.

Like his minister of justice, the prime minister referred to the Diefenbaker Bill of Rights as the legislated beginning of Canadian human rights protection. He then cited a long list of his own government’s accomplishments and summed up in these words: “The government is acting on rights, unlike the record of that government which did not get the job done.”

His examples were noteworthy: protecting the rights of women and children from acts of criminality, extending the right to vote for the Senate, fixing the historic injustice of the Chinese head tax, the Air India inquiry, the residential schools agreement, and signing on to the United Nations declaration on the rights of the disabled.

These statements tell us a lot about the government’s official position on the Charter.

First and foremost, according to Harper and Nicholson, the Charter fulfils itself through legislation and government action, not through Charter litigation and judicial rulings. Many of the comments described were made in response to criticism of the government’s cancellation of the Court Challenges Program. In that context, the emphasis on this government’s aversion to lawyers’ concerns and lawyers’ work is significant.

Second, Harper and Nicholson consider the Charter’s subject matter to be “human rights” broadly conceived, rather than “constitutional rights” as embodied in its particular guarantees, principles and institutional arrangements….

Northern uranium project blocked!

Good news from the inbox today. Full story at Yahoo News

Miners stunned, environmentalists cheer after northern uranium project blocked – Yahoo Canada News

Wed May 9, 5:28 PM

By Bob Weber, The Canadian Press


(CP) – Miners are stunned and environmentalists cheering over a northern regulator’s recommendation that a uranium exploration project be denied because it threatens the spiritual and cultural well-being of the area’s Dene people.

The Mackenzie Valley Environmental Impact Review Board says Ur-Energy’s (TSX:URE) plan to drill up to 20 holes near the Thelon River should not proceed under any circumstances.”Although the proposed development is physically small, the potential cultural impacts are not,” says the board in a written decision.

It is only the second time in the board’s history that it has dismissed a project outright.

It’s now up to federal Indian Affairs Minister Jim Prentice to decide whether to accept the recommendation, which throws doubt on the future of hundreds of mineral leases and claims in a vast area of the Northwest Territories.

“It’s a major concern if you can’t run a minimal-impact exploration program,” Mike Vaydik of the Northwest Territories and Nunavut Chamber of Mines said Wednesday.

“Mineral exploration in the southeast part of the N.W.T. is basically stopped.”

Monte Hummel of the World Wildlife Fund agreed.

“This stands to have a serious impact on not just this project,” he said. “That’s what the people who live there want.”

Ur-Energy described the decision as a delay.

In a release, company president Bob Boberg said Ur-Energy is disappointed with the review board’s recommendation and “will continue to pursue any and all approaches that will allow us to advance exploration.”

Boberg said Ur-Energy would discuss the recommendation with Prentice.

The Thelon Basin is considered one of the earth’s last pristine wildernesses.


1: Link to Ur-Energy , including an email address for their Corporate Office in Canada, should you so wish…

2: Link to a PDF of the Review Board’s Report.

The poor get poorer and the rich, richer

What most living in poverty already know:  they’re getting poorer.  And, what we suspected: the rich are getting richer.

“Average family market income among the 10% of families with the highest incomes rose by 22% from 1989 to 2004. Meanwhile, among the 10% of families with the lowest incomes, it fell by 11%.”

And who is that predominates in that lowest income category?  Yes, women.  And we can thank both the Libs and the Cons for that.  What a great legacy, eh?

See also:

Thanks to Luke at B’n’R for the heads-up.

Govt of Sk Ass-kissing Oil & Gas

It seems the back-assward Sask NDP are proud to invest more money in the oil and gas industry at a time when oil and gas are being recognized as great contributors to global warming. It’s economic racism, I think, to put First Nations people into this situation.

But you go figure, because I give up trying to figure out this bunch of red-necked neo-cons that call themselves progressive and kiss-ass the corporate sector!



People in northwest Saskatchewan will soon be better equipped to investigate business opportunities and find employment in Saskatchewan’s booming oil and gas industries. Canada’s New Government and the Government of Saskatchewan are providing a total of $1.67 million to the Meadow Lake Tribal Council (MLTC) to implement three projects in the area of business development and employment training.

The investment was announced today by Saskatchewan First Nations & Métis Relations Minister Maynard Sonntag, on behalf of Industry and Resources Minister Eric Cline and Northern Affairs Minister Joan Beatty, and the Honourable Rona Ambrose, President of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and Minister of Western Economic Diversification.

“It is important that our governments help First Nations and Metis peoples and northerners take advantage of opportunities in their regions and make the most of our strong economy,” Sonntag said. “These projects will contribute to northern development and lead to a better quality of life for people in this area.”

“Canada’s New Government is proud to invest over $1.3 million in these projects which will give residents of northern Saskatchewan, including First Nations people, the resources and training they need to capitalize on the increasing business and employment prospects in oil and gas,” said Minister Ambrose. “We are proud to get things done for the residents of northern Saskatchewan by working in partnership with other orders of government.”

The largest project, involving $1.4 million, will provide the MLTC funds to establish an Oil and Gas Secretariat to pursue emerging business opportunities in the oil and gas sector on behalf of its members. The other two projects will provide job training to northerners seeking employment on oil drilling rigs or as heavy equipment operators in the oil, gas, mining or construction industries.

Meadow Lake Tribal Council represents nine First Nations in northwestern Saskatchewan with a combined membership of 11,000. According to tribal Chief Helen Ben, oil and gas initiatives will provide MLTC members with additional employment, training and business opportunities. “We have been fortunate in the past to become significant players in the forest industry and this new funding will help us to become involved with an even larger industry. We realize that the real effort will be made by the young men and women who are still in school today, getting a better education and better training. But we know they can do it and our Tribal council intends to be there to help.”

“Investments made into training programs under the Northern Development Agreement are providing access to gainful employment for Northerners in all sectors,” Northern Development Board chair Al Rivard said. “Early results of the oil and gas exploration in northern Saskatchewan are encouraging, these training programs provide northern residents with transferable skills so that once this new exciting sector comes to fruition, we will have trained northerners ready and willing to take on these new opportunities.”

Funding for the MLTC capacity building project is being provided through the Canada-Saskatchewan Western Economic Partnership Agreement. This Agreement funds initiatives that increase Aboriginal participation in the economic mainstream, develop Saskatchewan’s small and medium-sized business sector, support economic and technological innovation, and assist with diversifying Saskatchewan’s economy. This contribution reinforces the commitment of both governments to increase First Nations involvement in the development of Saskatchewan’s non-renewable resources.

The drilling rig and heavy equipment operator programs are receiving funding from the Canada-Saskatchewan Northern Development Agreement (NDA). The NDA is providing $20 million over six years (2002 to 2008) for a variety of northern economic development initiatives. About $13.8 million has been announced to date to support 43 projects. In addition to a broad range of training and employment programs, the Agreement has invested in expanding high-speed Internet service to more than 35 northern communities.


For more information, contact:

Brenda Tarasiuk
Western Economic Diversification Canada
Phone: 306-975-5943
Cell: 1-888-338-WEST

Bob Ellis
Saskatchewan Industry and Resources
Phone: 306-787-1691

Scott Boyes
Saskatchewan Northern Affairs
La Ronge
Phone: 306-425-6669
Cell: 306-425-8869

Gordon Iron
Meadow Lake Tribal Council
Meadow Lake
Phone: 306-236-5654

Dean Desjarlais
Northern Development Board
La Ronge
Phone: 306-425-2444


Happy Mother’s Day, Dubya!


Mother’s day complaint claims United States courts violate children’s and
mothers’ human rights.

NEW YORK On May 11, just before Mother’s Day weekend, ten mothers, one
victimized child, now an adult, and leading national and state organizations
filed a complaint against the United States with the Inter American
Commission on Human Rights. The case claims that U.S. courts, by frequently
awarding child custody to abusers and child molesters, has failed to protect
the life, liberties, security and other human rights of abused mothers and
their children.

“For more than 30 years U.S. judges have given custody or unsupervised
visitation of children to abusers and molesters putting the children
directly at risk,” says Dianne Post, an international attorney who authored
the petition. “These horrendous human rights violations have been brought
to the attention of family court systems, and state and federal governments,
to no avail. We turn now to international courts to protect the rights and
safety of US children.”

The complaint details several cases with documented medical evidence of
child sexual abuse, yet in each instance the abusing father was given full
custody of the children he abused. Several of the mothers were jailed by
the courts because of their persistent efforts to protect their children
from abuse, several were ordered not to speak of the abuse and not to report
abuse to authorities. Every mother was denied contact with her child for
some period of time though none was ever proven to have harmed them.

“My life was completely shattered apart on that day and my childhood was
destroyed,” said Jeff Hoverson, the adult child petitioner, about the day a
family court judge ordered sheriff deputies to deliver him into the custody
of his abuser. “It was as if I was just kidnapped. I was torn from
everything I knew….I was made into a possession rather than a child.”
Hoverson endured years of trauma and fear living in his father’s home before
escaping and returning to his mother at age 17. He is haunted by years of
feeling helpless to prevent his father’s night-time visits to his sisters’

“The cases in this petition represent the proverbial tip of the iceberg,”
says Irene Weiser, executive director of the national online organization
Stop Family Violence. “We are contacted by an average of three protective
mothers each week who have lost custody to child abusing fathers. This is a
nationwide crisis of enormous proportion.”

“The lives of thousands of children and mothers have been irreparably harmed
by family courts across our nation,” says Joyanna Silberg, Ph.D., executive
vice-president of The Leadership Council on Child Abuse and Interpersonal
Violence, another national organizations supporting the petition. “The years
of trauma and psychological abuse because of the courts’ failings result in
lasting emotional damage to the children they are supposed to protect.”

Studies of gender bias in the courts, conducted in the 1980’s and 90’s,
found disturbing trends of courts minimizing or excusing men’s violence
against women, and favoring the abusers. In 1990 the United States Congress
passed a resolution recommending the prohibition of giving joint or sole
custody to abusers. Seventeen years later, the practice continues unabated.
Ten years ago today, leading national organizations were joined by members
of Congress in a protest in Washington D.C. to again raise awareness about
the problems in family courts. Today, petitioners say, the problem is
systemic and widespread in family law courts across the nation.

The petition seeks a finding from the Inter-American Commission on Human
Rights that the U.S. has violated the Declaration of the Rights and
Responsibilities of Man and the Charter of the Organization of American
States and a statement of the steps that the U.S. must take to comply with
its human rights obligations in regards to battered women and children in
child custody cases.

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights was created in 1959 and is
expressly authorized to examine allegations of human rights violations by
members of the Organization of American States, which include the United
States. It also carries out on-site visits to observe the general human
rights situations in all 35 member states of the Organization of American
States and to investigate specific allegations of violations of
Inter-American human rights treaties. Its charge is to promote the
observance and the defense of human rights in the Americas.

Dianne Post, a 1980 graduate of the University of Wisconsin law school, has
worked on issues of gender based violence since 1976. In addition to
private practice and legal aid, she has taught legal classes and been a
consultant working or living in Russia, Cambodia, Hungary and some dozen
other countries. She is currently in Vladivostok, Russia.

Additional national organizations supporting the international lawsuit
include: National Organization for Women and the NOW Foundation, National
Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Justice For Children, National Family
Court Watch Project, Stop Family Violence, Legal Momentum, Family Violence
Prevention Fund, National Alliance to End Sexual Violence, Domestic Violence
Report, Sidran Traumatic Stress Institute, and the National Center on Sexual
and Domestic Violence. The petition is supported by many state organizations
as well.

In December 2005, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a petition
against the United States with the Inter American Commission on Human Rights
for their failure to protect Jessica Gonzales’ three children from their
abusive father, who murdered them. Their petition, the first of its kind,
asserted that domestic violence victims have the right to be protected by
the state from the violent acts of their abusers.

For additional information, or to review the petition visit