[Hpn] Social Justice E-Zine #36

Kim or Ray Goforth goforth86@home.com
Fri, 05 May 2000 23:46:13 -0700


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"Take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim.
Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. "
                                                     - Eli  Weisel


                       SOCIAL JUSTICE #36
                           May 7, 2000
                           Kim Goforth
                           Ray Goforth


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IN THIS ISSUE:

1) AMERICAN UNION WINS FREE SPEECH VICTORY

2) GOLDMAN PRIZE AWARDS FOR GRASSROOTS
ENVIRONMENTALISTS

3) IRANIAN ACTIVISTS AND INTELLECTUALS DETAINED

4) GENDER APARTHEID: WOMAN STONED TO DEATH IN
AFGHANISTAN


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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. SJ now reaches
approximately 10,000 e-mail recipients in eight dozen
countries.  Stories from SJ are then broadcast on radio stations
throughout the world.  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:

goforth86@home.com
http://members.tripod.com/~goforth/socialjustice.html

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AMERICAN UNION WINS FREE SPEECH VICTORY
(Washington state, USA)

Responding to union pressure and a worldwide cyber campaign for
justice, King County Prosecutor Norm Maleng recently issued a
directive that would require deputy prosecutors to seek special
approval before filing protective (gag) orders.

The directive also reminds deputy prosecutors that all King County
courtrooms and administrative hearings are open to all citizens.
Exceptions must be approved in advance with Maleng, the April 20
policy states.

The policy was created after King County Deputy Prosecutor Diane
Hess-Taylor attempted to bar the public from an Unfair Labor
Practice hearing held on March 30-31 and sought a gag order to
stop the International Federation of Professional and Technical
Engineers, Local 17 (Seattle) from contacting media and human
rights activists about case.

The Unfair Labor Practice charge and subsequent hearing was
initiated by Local 17 and is part of an ongoing battle with the
county over union-busting tactics at King County Department of
Development & Environmental Services.

The union used the internet to alert union and human rights
activists from around the world about what was occurring. They
responded to the attempted censorship and the assault on civil
rights by flooding King County officials with more than 2000
e-mails asking them to deal with the issue fairly. Deputy
Prosecutor Hess-Taylor rescinded the gag order on February 25
without comment.

The King Coalition of County Unions also stepped in to urge Maleng
to take action. That coalition is composed of all the labor unions
which represent King County employees. It sent letters to Maleng
asking for a formal repudiation of the attempted gag order and the
response was the April 20 policy directive.

"Local 17 is delighted that Prosecutor Maleng has taken the
appropriate steps in response to this abuse of power by one of his
deputies. Petitioning public officials for redress of grievances
is at the heart of protected free speech in the United States.
The Deputy Prosecutor's characterization of this activity as
"harassment" showed an arrogance and contempt for the democratic
process that is truly shocking.  The attempt to close the hearing
and the sought after gag order had no basis in law - and
constituted an outrageous attempt to censor, intimidate and harass
the union", IFPTE Local 17 Union Representative Ray Goforth said.

More Information on this story is available at:

http://www.ifpte17.org/ifpte17
http://www.thestranger.com/2000-03-09/city.html

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GOLDMAN PRIZE AWARDS FOR GRASSROOTS
ENVIRONMENTALISTS

A Mexican peasant leader whose struggles against one of the
world's largest lumber giants resulted in his imprisonment and
torture last May, a Russian lawyer who is breaking new legal
ground as she pleads precedent setting environmental cases in
Russia, and an ethnobotanist from Madagascar who is fighting to
save the island's forests that are rich with potentially life
saving drugs are among the winners of the 11th annual Goldman
Environmental Prize.

*From Mexico, Rodolfo Montiel Flores: A peasant leader, imprisoned
since May 2, 1999, who successfully organized the local population
to halt voracious logging by US-based Boise Cascade in the
Petatlán mountains of the Mexican coastal state of Guerrero.
Protesting against environmental degradation, corruption, and
human rights violations, he united local subsistence farmers and
environmentalists in a movement that led Boise Cascade to abandon
the logging it began soon after NAFTA was implemented in México.
The movement was brutally suppressed by the Mexican Army, and in
May 1999 two campesinos, including Montiel Flores, were arrested,
suffered beatings, and remain in prison.  As a result, an attorney
representing the Petatlán group was kidnapped, brutally attacked
and later released.

*From Uzbekistan, Oral Ataniyazova: An obstetrician who founded a
clinic and a community-based movement to overcome the effects of
environmental disaster in Karakalpakstan, an autonomous region of
Uzbekistan. The heavy use of pesticides and other toxins in the
region has created a devastating ecological nightmare that has
negatively affected the health and livelihood of some three
million inhabitants. The diversion of water for irrigation of the
region's historic cotton crop have resulted in the rapid
disappearance of the Aral Sea -- one of the world's largest inland
seas -- displacing 40-60,000 individuals dependent on the
formerly productive fishing industry. Working mostly with women
and children, Ataniyazova has created programs to raise awareness
of the issues and to seek solutions to the dire conditions in her
homeland.

*From Russia,Vera Mischenko: A founder of the public-interest law
movement in Russia who won the first successful lawsuit in the
Russian Supreme Court in defense of public ecological interests on
behalf of current and future generations. Mischenko and Ecojuris,
her organization, were the first to use new Russian legislation to
protect environmental rights of people without formal power of
attorney. A recent legal action under her leadership resulted in
an important victory against oil exploration without environmental
impact assessments on Sakhalin Island, home to 8,000 indigenous
people, migratory birds and marine mammals, including gray whales.
This represents the first environmental victory in Russia against
a multinational corporation.

*From Madagascar, Nat Quansah: An ethnobotanist known as a pioneer
in the use of local plants in the treatment of disease. Madagascar
is home to five percent of the world's total plant and animal
species and remains one of the most naturally diverse islands on
earth. A drug made from the endemic rosy periwinkle plant has
increased the chances of recovery from childhood leukemia from 20
to 80 percent. In 1994, the recipient opened a clinic in the
village of Ambodisakoana. There Quansah implemented the Integrated
Health Care and Conservation Program in which the cultural
practice of using natural substances for medicinal purposes is
being reintroduced to Malagasy villagers. In the clinic's four
years of operation, 5,685 patients were treated, and the use of
local medicinal plants has raised the community's awareness of the
importance of forest conservation.

*From Paraguay, Oscar Rivas & Elías Díaz Peña: They began their
efforts in 1986 under the dictatorship of General Alfredo
Stroessner. Their struggle has continued during political turmoil
involving efforts by fascistic groups to regain control of the
country. The most visible success of the group they founded has
been the campaign to halt the internationally financed Hidrovía
Paraguay-Paraná navigation project, intended to drain, dredge and
alter the region's waterways as a spur for export-driven
development. Their most recent challenge is the struggle to
highlight the severe problems associated with the notorious
Yacyretá Dam on the Río Paraná. Calling for effective
environmental and resettlement plans, Rivas and Díaz submitted a
claim to the World Bank Inspection Panel -- a move that resulted
in recommendations to benefit local communities and an apology
from the World Bank.

*From Liberia, Alexander Peal: An activist who spearheaded the
creation of his country's first and only national park. Throughout
the civil collapse and terror resulting from the 1989 civil war,
Peal persisted in efforts he began in the mid-1970's to protect
the dwindling forests of Liberia, the only country left in west
Africa with any significant forest cover. After a long exile in
the United States, Peal is re-establishing the conservation
movement in Liberia. Working without pay, he is taking up where he
left off before the civil war and his forced absence.  As
president of the Society for the Conservation of Nature of Liberia
(SCNL),he heads the country's first private sector environmental
conservation group.

The Goldman Environmental Prize is a project of the Goldman
Environmental Foundation, established in 1989 by civic leaders
Richard N. Goldman and his late wife Rhoda H. Goldman. Richard
Goldman is Chairman of Goldman Insurance Services, an independent
insurance brokerage firm based in San Francisco. Rhoda Goldman was
a descendant of Levi Strauss, the founder of the worldwide
clothing company that bears his name.

Applications are not accepted for the Goldman Environmental Prize.
Nominations from each continent are submitted anonymously by a
network of 23 environmental organizations worldwide and a
confidential panel of experts representing nearly 50 nations. As
the only major prize program honoring grassroots
environmentalists, the Goldman Environmental Prize has been
recognized by 113 heads of state worldwide.

For More Information:
http://www.goldmanprize.org/index.html

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IRANIAN ACTIVISTS AND INTELLECTUALS DETAINED

(Washington, DC, May 3, 2000) -- Human Rights Watch today
condemned the April 30 arrest of six prominent Iranian activists
for participating in a conference on the future of Iran. The
conference was held in Berlin on April, 7-8, 2000.

The detainees, all prominent Iranian intellectuals, included
Mehrangiz Kar, a women's rights advocate; Shahla Lahiji, publisher
of women's books; Akhbar Ganji, a journalist; and Ali Afshari, a
student leader. Ezzatollah Sahabi, a former minister, and
Hamid-Reza Jalai-Pur,  an editor, were arrested and later
released on bail. The six are charged with "acting against the
internal security of the state and disparaging the holy order of
the Islamic Republic."

"These people were detained for talking about the future of their
country," said Hanny Megally, executive director of the Middle
East and North Africa Division. "It's outrageous. They should
enjoy their basic right to freedom of expression and association."

Two more Iranian reformists, Jamileh Kadivar, a member of
parliament-elect, and Ali-Reza-Tabar, a member of the editorial
board of the daily Sobh-e-Emruz, have been officially charged with
working against the security of Iran and distributing propaganda
against the Islamic Republic at the conference.

Ali-Reza-Tabar and Kadivar were released on bail. Arrest warrants
have also been issued against Yosoffi Ashkebah Varai and Kazam
Kardavani, writers who are currently out of Iran, for their
participation in the Berlin conference.

This action follows the closing during the past week of 17 Iranian
newspapers and magazines. "These arrests are nothing more than an
attempt to silence the reform movement," said Megally. "The
activists who are the target of this witch-hunt are being held on
trumped-up charges and their safety is at risk."

Human Rights Watch noted that some of the activists arrested have
been targeted before by the government. For example, Kar has been
harassed for her work on women's rights.

Human Rights Watch strongly condemns the continued detention of
Mehrangiz Kar, Shahla Lahiji, Akhbar Ganji, and Ali Afshari, and
calls for their immediate release. Human Rights Watch further
calls on Iran to respect its international obligations as a
signatory to the International Convention on Civil and Political
Rights, and guarantee the right to freedom of expression and
association, and to fair trial and impartial judicial proceedings.

For More Information: http://www.hrw.org

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FEMINIST MAJORITY FOUNDATION CONDEMNS TALIBAN'S BRUTAL
KILLING OF WOMAN IN AFGHANISTAN AND CALLS FOR US ACTION

The Feminist Majority Foundation condemns the public stoning of a
woman to death in Northern Afghanistan by the Taliban militia for
allegedly committing adultery and calls for an end to the brutal
gender apartheid regime that continues to terrorize the women and
girls of Afghanistan.

"The on-going and increasing brutality of the Taliban regime is
evident in this latest appalling human rights atrocity,"
proclaimed Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority.

The second reported public execution of a woman carried out in the
past six months, the stoning took place in a sports stadium in
Mazar-e-Sharif before several thousand people. There has been no
report of what happened to the man involved in the alleged affair.

The Feminist Majority Foundation calls on President Clinton and
Secretary of State Albright to publicly condemn this brutal murder
and to increase US pressure to restore the rights of women and
girls in Afghanistan fully and permanently.

Official Taliban decrees, punishable by beating, stoning, and
death, ban women's work, education, and mobility. Afghan women and
girls risk their lives daily to realize the very basic human
needs. Even after international condemnation, the Taliban have
only made slight and unofficial changes to their gender apartheid
policies. Despite these changes, the overall reality of Afghan
women and girls has remained unchanged. Women and girls in
Afghanistan continue to live under virtual house arrest.

Afghan's continue to make up the world's largest refugee
population with an estimated 2.5 million refugees in Pakistan and
Iran alone. On-going Taliban military offensives have resulted in
gross human rights violations and massive displacement of the
civilian population, particularly women and children.

According to UN estimates, over the course of 1999 an additional
200,000 persons have fled the fighting and an estimated 258,600
remain internally displaced. Ironically Afghanistan's estimated
one million war widows ranks it among the countries with the
highest female-headed household population.

Over 160 women's and human rights organizations join The Feminist
Majority Foundation's Campaign to Stop Gender Apartheid in
Afghanistan in imploring the United States and the United Nations
to do everything in its power to help restore the rights of Afghan
women and girls. The Campaign continues to press the United States
government to deny the Taliban recognition until the rights of
women and girls are fully and permanently restored, to increase
humanitarian assistance directed to Afghan women and children, and
to increase refugee admission of women and girls fleeing the
brutal gender apartheid regime.

For more information: www.feminist.org

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For those who have inquired: Ray and Kim Goforth hold
undergraduate degrees in political-economy from The Evergreen
State College and law degrees (juris doctor) from the University
of Washington.  Ray works for a labor union and Kim advocates for
victims of domestic violence.  Kim and Ray are active in a wide
variety of progressive causes and live a happy life in Seattle,
Washington USA.

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