January/February 2008
Human Rights in a time of terror


In 2008 the Universal Declaration of Human Rights will be 60 years old - and the Olympics will take place in China, a country that flagrantly abuses it. Meanwhile, countries that flaunt their human rights credentials on the world stage have decided that the War on Terror trumps everything else. Fundamental human rights that took years of suffering to establish are being casually swept aside. Social and economic rights that were always belittled are now being ignored altogether. There may be more international human rights 'machinery' than ever before ? but it's being put very firmly into reverse gear.

So the NI starts the New Year by going backstage, behind all the razzmatazz, to celebrate the work of some remarkable groups of human rights defenders who carry on regardless ? and we award them 'medals' of our own.








2 Letters

4 Human rights in a time of terror
Thanks to the War on Terror, argues David Ransom, the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights marks a
low point in its history alongside a propaganda festival at the Beijing Olympics.

7 Race for Rights Gold Medal
Women of Zimbabwe Arise.

8 The Race for Rights
Portrayed by Dan Jones.

10 Breathless in Beijing
Sam Geall reports on broken promises at the Olympics.

12 Race for Rights Gold Medal
Sex rights campaigners in Poland
and Latvia.

13 Too late for Martha
Denied treatment while pregnant, she died in agony after her child was born. Jens Erik Gould tells a tragic story that changed the law on abortion in Colombia.

15 Race for Rights Gold Medal
The Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company (Sherkat-e Vahed).

16 A guide through the maze
The Declarations, Covenants and Conventions that make up the International Bill of Rights.

18 Who killed Maksim Maksimov?
Not that no-one knows. Maria Yulikova reports on the brutal assassination of a journalist in Russia.


22 Race for Rights Gold Medal
Survivors of the Bhopal gas explosion.

23 Bitter crop
Brandon Astor Jones writes from death row in the US about race, class and songs.

24 Rwanda - why I support the abolition of the death penalty
Though Jean Baptiste Kayigamba lost most of his family and friends to the genocide, he doesn't think the Government should kill even more people.

26 Race for Rights Gold Medal
The Water and Energy Users' Federation of Nepal.


The eternal minority
The Roma - still widely known as 'Gypsies' - have had a raw deal for centuries and are only now starting to raise their voice on the international stage. Eleanor Harding looks at their plight in Romania, while the NI traces their history back to India.

31 Currents
Indian farmers demand land rights; dumping toxic waste to avert global warming; gays face clampdown in Uganda.
PLUS: Big Bad World and Seriously

34 Southern Exposure
Remembering Brazilian slavery in the capoeira dance, photographed by Tatiana Cardeal.

35 Worldbeaters
In Turkey the political story is unusual: a liberal Islamic government is holding the line against the fascist-tinged nationalism of Devlet Bahceli and his Grey Wolves youth movement.

36 NI Jumbo Prize Crossword

37 Mixed Media
Including the Best of 2007, plus a Coen Brothers film, music from West Africa and stories from Guantanamo.

40 View from New Delhi
Urvashi Butalia feels betrayed by politicians on the Left who embrace globalization.

41 Making Waves
The work against the odds of activists in the Tunisian Association Against AIDS.

42 Country Profile: Kazakhstan





NI Japan




<This month's translation>

- Human rights in a time of terror (NI p4-6)

- Breathless in Beijing (NI p10-11)

- Too late for Martha (NI p13-14)


- Race for Rights Gold Medal: Women of Zimbabwe Arise. (NI p7)

- Race for Rights Gold Medal:
The Water and Energy Users' Federation of Nepal.
(NI p26)

- Country Profile - Kazakhstan (NI p42)


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