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Everything Between Heaven and Earth and Beyond

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Archive for the ‘UN’ Category

The Hypocrisy of USonian fear of ‘Nudity’

Posted by Henric C. Jensen on October 29, 2010


I am an artist. I use my personal experience in my art. Some times that means using images of ‘nudity’. As in this image:

Beneath The Skin

It’s a composite of a portrait of me and a strongly demurred and obscured nude female torso – it depicts a piece of my personal history –

A Trans Man’s Transsexuality 101

I am being told that I have to remove this image from a Social Community Site because it contains ‘nudity’.

I live in Europe. In Europe ‘nudity’ is being considered in context – i.e the question of what is the purpose of the ‘nudity’ is taken into consideration before it’s deemed ‘inappropriate’ for public consumption. In the US any depiction of nudity, regardless of context or intention, is seen as pornographic, lewd, indecent and therefore immoral. Even if it’s clearly artistic or educational.

The USonians, influenced by Fundamentalist Xian Imperialism and values dating back to the Puritan Immigrants’ values of the 17th century, are so afraid that their children will become promiscuous and sexually depraved by seeing normal human anatomy and physical reality, that they actually demand that the entire world be censored to conform to their fears.

At the same time the US is the country that ‘gave’ the world MTV – where there is a lot more ‘nudity’, and sexually explicit images being cabled out than in the image I am being told to remove. The US is also the single Western country where sex education in schools are ‘forbidden’ – yet where teen pregnancies are such a huge problem, because of this single fact.

Smell the hypocrisy, my friends!

Compare my artwork to this artist’s work – Jody Scheisser – who is doing ‘fine artistic photography’ depicting nudity in a far more ‘explicit’ manner than I have ever published. Or compare to some of the most praised classical artists, such as Agnolo Bronzino’s Venus, Cupide and the Time (Allegory of Lust) – and this we ALL call fine art, and wouldn’t censor, wouldn’t deem ‘immoral’ or ‘inappropriate’ – even if we might not like it or think appropriate for prepubescent children to watch. Yet my single piece of art is deemed ‘inappropriate’ and judged as nudity, although one can hardly discern the forms or the details of the ‘nude female torso’! And that in a site that says that:

“The Ning Platform is not directed to children younger than 13 and is offered only to users 13 years of age or older.” (From the Ning TOS)

So the censoring of my art, by Ning (through the Gaia Community), is an extension of the hypocrisy of USonian society, based on the values of Fundamentalist and Puritan values of a small group of 17th century immigrants seeking freedom from oppression – a freedom they would now, through their 21st century descendants, deny me – despite my art being in no way offensive or sexually explicit in comparison to both classical and modern artists’ work.

When I attempted  to post this entry to the Gaia Network, I found that the image above had been removed by the Gaia Ning Team without any response to either personal messages about this or comments in a thread designated for the matter of ‘nudity’ in images, I see no other recourse than to delete any all my art from the Gaia Network, and leave the Network entirely, including all groups.

I can only assume that this was the Gaia Team’s intention from the onset of this sad affair.

Posted in Censorship | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

Now EARN it, Mr President!

Posted by Henric C. Jensen on October 10, 2009


Mr President, Mr Obama,

You were awarded Nobel’s Peace Prize this year. Despite not having kept one single promise you made to the World during your election campaign. Shall I remind you?

1. Close Guantanamo Bay ‘Detention Center’ and other American ‘black ops’ prisons around the globe.

2. Withdraw all American troops from Iraq.

3. Withdraw all American troops from Afghanistan.

You promised these things, not just to those Americans who voted for you – the entire Democratic and Human’s Rights Oriented World rooted for you during the campaign and cheered for you when you won. On the night of your election to the Presidency of the United States of America an entire world went to bed happy and hopeful, trusting and believing that the very first Executive Orders you signed would be fulfillments, effective immediately, of the three promises listed above, promises you made to the American People and to the World, promises that were largely the reason you were actually elected.

Speaking with the various warring factions of the world, verbally encouraging your adversaries to ley down their weapons, speaking about the importance of International Organizations and Cooperations, shaking hands with other political leaders – that is all good an well, and you should do that – but the world is still waiting for the closure of American Torture Centers around the globe, the complete withdrawal of American troops from Iraq and Afghanistan. So what will it be, Mr President? Will you now step up and EARN that prestigious prize you won on the merit of your skin color and promises alone and actually BE the leader of the free world? Or shall you go down in history as just another power hungry, lying, cheating and full of himself American President?

Posted in Barack Obama, Human Rights, US, US foreign policy, US Politics | Leave a Comment »

On the Matter of Human Rights and the UDHR

Posted by Henric C. Jensen on February 25, 2009


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As I have traveled the various on line discussion groups, forum sites and mailing lists in the last ten years, I have come across some interesting, to say the least, ideas about human rights, what they are, who has them, who has them not and most curious, how they are obtained and retained.

People from all walks of life have expressed their views on these ‘issues’, and it seems that a majority of people do not grasp even the basics of what exactly the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) means. It seems, people think that some people do not have any human rights, or are not entitled to some human rights and that some things are human rights that are not. All of it based on their own personal prejudices and preferences, often ruled by religious dogma or political agendas.

I have found people to be abhorrently uneducated, willfully ignorant and deliberately obtuse when faced with these thirty simple principles for human conduct, human society and human interaction.

It is all quite simple. Human rights are not earned, nor can they be forfeited or lost. They are not bestowed and they cannot be revoked. Every human being has them from the day they were born until the day they die, without exception.

“Article 1. All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood. Article 2. Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.”

This indisputable fact notwithstanding; people in civilized countries will not only claim that it is not true, they will actively work to violate the human rights of people they deem unworthy. People like prisoners, former criminals, children, women, GLBT people and foreigners. These people are thought to have some status ailment that disqualifies them in the eyes of the people who will abuse their human rights. Yet, article 2 of the UDHR clearly says that no single, real (or imagined), status may be used to deny anyone their entitlement to all the rights in the UDHR which are the birth-right of every human being.
In the US, prisoners and former convicts do not have the “right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives” because they may not vote (article 21). Those same prisoners are also subjected “to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment” (article 5) when they are required by American law to inform potential employers of their crime and their conviction. This requirement frequently lead to them having their “right to social security and realization, through national effort and international co-operation and in accordance with the organization and resources of each State, of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of personality” violated, because they are rejected by employers and cannot earn a decent living (article 22 and 23) due to their criminal past.
Many criminals and former criminals are “subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence”, and “attacks upon his honor and reputation” (article 12) when their names, location and crimes are made public in the press and on the Internet, either as part of news stories or as listings that take on the likeness of witch-hunts. These witch-hunts are clearly intended as an incitement to violation of these people’s human rights and often lead to former criminals being physically attacked, some times resulting in their death. Article 12 explicitly says that “everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks”, yet the lists on the Internet and news stories, which are known to incite people to perpetrate such attacks are legal in the US. All because in the US some people are not considered human beings.

Women and children do not seem to be considered human beings either. Women are consistently paid less than men, a violation of their right to equal pay for equal work (article 23). Women and children are routinely subjected to attacks upon their honour and reputation (article 12), when, in sexual abuse/rape cases, they are questioned about their sexual practices, morality and or drinking habits; it is implied that they invited sexual attention, all as a matter of routine in such cases. Lawyers are routinely allowed such degrading and cruel lines of questioning and argumentation by the court system and the judges. Such lines of questioning and argumentation are also violations of article 12 which stipulates that everyone has the right to protection by the law against such attacks.

GLBT people are also routinely subjected to violations of their human rights, not only when they are harassed and attacked by the general public (article 7), but also in the very legislation of the US, which refuse give them the right to marry (article 16). The UDHR doesn’t specify that men may only marry women or that women may only marry men. It specifies that men and women of full age may marry. Not a word about marriage being between a man and a women. The UDHR specifies the family as a fundamental group unit in Society that is entitled to protection by society and the State. The UDHR doesn’t define ‘family’. This means that siblings may not be separated and f.i placed in different foster homes – society and the State must protect the “family group unit” of those siblings and make sure that they are placed together, no matter how young or old they are. Not to do so is a violation of their human rights.

Millions of people in civilized countries have their human rights to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services (article 25), violated, even in national legislation when minimum wage is not  set sufficiently high to provide a safe and secure standard of living, health care and unemployment  payment are dependent on previous savings or insurance payments. This is especially grievous when it strikes children. Article 25 especially specifies that all children shall enjoy the same social protection, and still they don’t, not even in the richest countries of the world, such as the US. Not all children have a home, a family, and safe place they can call their own, nor do alll children have the same protection before the law. Children from wealthy families, educated families or politically powerful families are rarely tried as adults or have to serve time in detention centers, simply because of who their parents are, how much money or education their families have. In fact, children from wealthy families, educated families or politically powerful families rarely see their parents go to jail, not because their parents don’t commit crimes, but because their parents aren’t either found out or are aquitted in court due to what is considered their social standing. This is a violation of their human rights. Being held accountable, being considered responsible for one’s actions are actually human rights too, and every time people are not held accountable or seen as responsible for their actions in accordance with their mental, intellectual and spiritual faculties, their human rights are being violated.

The UDHR doesn’t only protect human rights, it also protects human responsibilities, (article 1). With each of the thirty principles of Rights of the UDHR comes an equal principle of Responsibility to make sure that the right stated is given to each one of the human race.

This is another indisputable fact, which to many is not self-evident. I have found that many people seem to be very adamant about their rights to all sorts of things, especially in the area of the right to freedom of expression (article 19), even to a point where they actually promote violation of this right when it comes to others. I.e they claim the right to say anything at any time in any place they like, but are at the same time claiming that others do not have this right. if what others say either does not agree with them or point out that what they say is hurtful, demeaning and  abusive. Apart from being highly hypocritical it is also wrong, according to the UDHR.

They have no problem incarcerating people  based on a mere suspicion that they might belong to groups of people they have dehumanized, but if people from that dehumanized group should treat them or their friends similarly, they start screaming about rights they denied their alleged adversaries five minutes earlier.

They don’t mind subjecting people they consider lesser than themselves to cruel and inhuman treatment, like water boarding, but if those “lesser” people decapitates some of their friends on national TV, they scream bloody murder.

The fine things about the UDHR is that it’s for all people, regardless of who happens to be popular any given week. The UDHR guarantee that any violations of human rights are the same regardless of who perpetrates them and regardless of who is the victim of such violations.

None of the rights enumerated in the UDHR may be used to violate any of the rights enumerated in the UDHR (article 30). This is the guarantee that we are all responsible as well as imbued with rights the same as everyone else’s.

My safeguarding another’s rights means that in the end I am safeguarding my own rights.

Posted in Human Rights Activists/Martyrs, UDHR | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Posted by Henric C. Jensen on August 11, 2008


BEIJING (AP)—Their countries may be in a conflict, but a Russian and a Georgian shared a podium and an embrace after winning Olympic medals Sunday.

Russia’s Natalia Paderina, left, and Georgia’s Nino Salukvadze hug and wave during the medal ceremony after the women’s 10 meter air pistol final at the Beijing 2008 Olympics in Beijing, Sunday, Aug. 10, 2008. Paderina won the silver medal and Salukvadze won bronze.

A day after Georgian athletes considered leaving due to violence back home, Nino Salukvadze took the bronze in the women’s 10-meter air pistol. Russia’s Natalia Paderina won the silver, and after the medal ceremony, Salukvadze put her arm around Paderina and the two posed together for photographs. Paderina than gave Salukvadze a kiss on the cheek.

“This medal is good for Georgia, especially during times like this,” Salukvadze said. “I am very nervous today. It’s very difficult for my people.”

Georgia launched a major offensive Friday to retake control of the separatist province of South Ossetia. Russia, which has close ties to the province, responded by sending in armed convoys and military combat aircraft. Russia bombed Georgian towns Saturday.

The International Olympic Council announced Sunday that the Georgian and Russian teams had decided to remain in Beijing.
—-
I know, this isn’t about China and human rights. But it makes a point, regardless, that touches on China and human rights. The Olympic water polo game between Soviet Union and Hungary in Melbourne 1956 ended in bloodshed. The above is the very opposite. Russia and Georgia is at war, still the silver medalist – Natalia Paderina (Russia) and the bronze medalist Nino Salukvadze (Georgia) met as friends on the podium, holding hands and hugging each other. They could easily have tried to kill each other during the competition, as they were both armed.:-D

What can be learned from this? Sports and Politics both don’t and do belong together. There is a time to use what means are at one’s disposal to try and change the way people think about things, and there is a time to realize that people have very little to do with what governments decide. And here comes the connection to China and human rights. Ordinary Chinese people are actually pretty content with the course China as a nation is taking. Their lives, socially, economically and financially have improved enormously in only 20 years. Twenty five percent of all Chinese people consider themselves belonging to a well-educated, financially affluent group that has more personal freedoms and rights than their parents had. Hiphop, rock and punk music are freely available. Musicians representing those genres might not be welcome to perform on Tianamen Square or inside the Parliament, but contrary to common belief they are not persecuted or banned for playing in public. Despite the fact that they very often use their music to criticize the Chinese Government.

Does China have RELIGIOUS freeedom? Yes. Xians are not being persecuted for their beliefs. Nor are Falun Gong or the Tibetan Buddhists – that is a myth generally perpetuated by Evangelical Xians, Falun Gong practitioners and Buddhists in the West. The Xians Falun Gong and Tibetan Buddhists in China repeat this lie – why? – because it gets the attention from the West, it plays into what we think we know about Chinese Communism, i.e that it’s similar to Soviet Communism. But Chinese Communism is not Soviet Communism. Chinese Communism isn’t concerned with what people believe. Eradication of religious belief is not part of Chinese Communism.

So what is the issue with the Xians? The issue is that many Xians in China refuse to register with the Organized Churches already in place in China. They refuse, they are not barred from registering – in fact they are encouraged to register, but they refuse. The fact is that they could easily register and then worship as they like in their homes, but they refuse to register. The reason is purely political. Now one could argue that they shouldn’t have to register, and I agree they shouldn’t have to. But the lie that China persecutes its Xians because they are Xians has to be stopped, simply because it’s a lie.

What’s the issue with Falun Gong? That is a purely political issue as well. Falun Gong is very popular, is traditionally Chinese and has somewhere around 100 million adherents – that’s approximately 10% of all Chinese people, and therefore it presents a true threat to the Communist Party, that’s why Falun Gong is being persecuted, not because of its religious beliefs.

The same goes for Tibetan Buddhism.

All this political persecution has to end, I agree, and I think a lot is being done – all of those religious groups do have the possibility of practicing without prejudice from the Chinese Leadership in Hong Kong and Macao, another of those things that was not possible 20 years ago.

When we fight for human rights in China, we have to be TRUTHFUL about what is actually happening and focus or efforts on what is actual and factual – lying and exaggerating is not going to do any good for Human Rights in China. Why? Because if we perpetuate the lies about human rights violations in China, any accusations leveled at the Chinese Government can easily be refuted or brushed off as inaccurate.

This peaceful Students for Free Tibet demonstration on Tianamen Square was chased away by what appeared to be ordinary Chinese people.
Public demonstrations of a dissenting opinion are not forbidden. An example of this is what I saw in a video on You Tube made by Students for Free Tibet – the demonstration took place while several uniformed police were actually watching…what broke the demonstration was the crowd around the demonstrators that chased them away. NOT the POLICE. Watch the video

Again, we are possibly being lied to. Don’t buy the lies. Remember that the guy in the video has an agenda, and it looks better for him if he can convince you that he and his comrades were chased and possibly arrested by Chinese Police. But there is no evidence, except his word, that what he says is true. Remember, he also says that there were uniformed police present, and that they didn’t do anything – the question is WHY didn’t they?

Henric C. Jensen

Posted in Human Rights | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Open War During the Opening Ceremony!

Posted by Henric C. Jensen on August 11, 2008


Russian Tanks in South Ossetia after Russia surged into the Georgian break-away province during the Olympic Opening Ceremony on Friday August 8

That headline met me when I made my usual morning tour in the bath room this morning – there, on the hall way floor, it yelled at me. I knew already: Russia and Georgia moved into open war over the Georgian province South Ossetia. during the Olympic opening ceremony yesterday. My wife cried. CNN showed Russian tanks rolling over the border. She said, “disqualify Russia and Georgia from the Games for breaking the Olympic Peace”. My thoughts went to the small Georgian troop of athletes that had just passed over the screen as they marched in. I hoped they weren’t told by anyone what had just happened. I hoped they would be allowed to enjoy the Opening without having to worry about friends and relatives. Most of all I hoped that none of them were South Ossetians, because not much of South Ossetia remain untouched by Russian and Georgian military. Then I spotted Vladimir Putin…and, well what I said about him is not suited for print.

On Friday August 8 he carried the US Flag at the Olympic Opening Ceremony.
His appearance at the Olympic Opening was the closest that the Organization Team Darfur will get to expressing their opinion IN China
Lopez Lomong, originally from Darfur in Sudan, marched, head high in front of the American Troop. Just how much does his presence influence, and how much of that influence get back to the Chinese leaders, who are actively supporting the murder of the population in Darfur? How much will the letter that 40+ athletes have signed and sent to the Chinese Leadership actually do change China’s policy in Tibet? Who, of the 40+ will be disqualified from the Games as a result of their signature?

I have no idea, but I am sure that Lopez Lomong presence as the US Flag Bearer will mean a lot for International opinion, as a morale boost for activist and protesters, and I equally sure that the Letter will mean a morale boost for Tibet.

Hongkong didn’t have an Olympic Team while under British Rule – they have one under Chinese Rule!

Morale is important both in politics and in sports. The fact that China had to march in under 3 different flags – Hongkong China, Tapei China, and People’s Republic of China not only speaks volumes as to the conflicts and changes that are underway in China, it also boosts morale for those small, but strong “national” entities.
Taipei had an Olympic Team BEFORE China did, and they still have one, despite a lot of weapons’ rattling from China Main.

Thirty years ago years ago that would not have been possible. Thirty years ago we would not have known who of the Chinese athletes were from Hongkong or Singapore. So progress is being made.
Macao would have been the fourth entity to compete under one of the four flags, had it had a National Olympic Committee, but it doesn’t

Another point here is that thirty years ago we wouldn’t have KNOWN what exactly were the human rights violations committed by China – well, we would have had some basic ideas, based on out-smuggled notes, videos and such, but we would never have actually SEEN the evidence, and that too is a change. It might be that China wants to pretend that all is peachy, but through the back-door they are leaking like a sieve. I am not sure that the leaks are not intentional. After all China benefits from openness, and they know it.

Henric

Posted in Human Rights | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Gold, Gold, Gold!

Posted by Henric C. Jensen on August 11, 2008


Sweden’s Women’s Olympic Soccer Team lost to China 2-1 yesterday. Naturally it was no fun for the Swedes. It was the first game of the preliminaries. Yes, you got that right – the first game of the preliminaries. From what I read in today’s Dagens Nyheter (Today’s News) you would think that they lost the finals. The sports journalists are calling for the team captain to be chucked out and the coach to be fired.

For crying out loud! It was the first game of the preliminaries! They still have another two games to play. They don’t have to win their group to qualify for the quarter finals.

Here is what really went wrong with the game on Sweden’s part: China is extremely good at long and middle distance shots. They are also very good at positioning their forwards to receive those long and middle distance shots. Yesterday they used their long and middle distance shots, and managed to land two of them behind the Swedish goalie. The Swedish Captain worked her butt off to organize the midfield to destroy Chinese chances at using their prime weapons. As a captain there is only so much you can do to fix things, and if your team-mates don’t listen, don’t do their job and if the defense doesn’t adjust their position placement to match that of long and middle distance shots, there is no way in hell that one woman can succeed whatever she does. After all, soccer is a team sport, not a one-woman-show.

Olympic Games really pull out the worst in sports commentators and journalists. The Olympics is supposed to be fun for the athletes, be they old pros or newbies. Yes, of course they all want to get that elusive GOLD, but, as the old saying goes – “you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar”, accurate and constructive assessments of the athletes performances and encouragements when they falter will do more to bring home those coveted gold medals, than calling for their dismissal and termination.

How does this tie in with China and Human Rights? Well, the saying: “you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar” applies to how we treat China. It’s one thing to be opposed to how China violates Human Rights – we should be – but political change is a process, and it’s not done easily, it needs planning, slow progress and in some cases the old generation of politicians has to die and be buried before any visible progress can be made.

I watched a French documentary about Deng Xiaoping, Mao’s successor, the other day. It was very educational, because it showed how China has in fact been on the road to democracy and openness since Deng Xiaoping took over from Chairman Mao. Deng Xiaoping opened Chinese commerce for market economy, allowing for private ownership and entrepreneurial exploration within Chinese economy. It is true that opposition to the Communist Party was forbidden and still is, but I cannot help but see the parallels to the old Soviet Union and it’s last Leader, Michail Gorbachev, and the process of bringing the Eastern Block into a modern world. My wife pointed out to me that the Olympics in Berlin 1936 preceded the fall of the Third Reich with 10 years, the Fall of the Soviet Union happened within 10 years of the Olympics 1980 in Moscow, if we are to believe this “predictional” time line, Communist China will fall within 10 years of this year’s Olympics in Beijing. One thing is for sure – if this happens, China will be far better prepared, politically, socially and financially than both Germany and the Soviet Union were.

Henric C Jensen

Posted in Human Rights | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Olympics, Doping and the uncertainty of results

Posted by Henric C. Jensen on August 11, 2008


It used to be fun to watch the Olympics. The athletes were heroes. As a small boy I dreamed of being an Olympian. Not that I was ever good at sports – but the mere nature of Olympism made it possible, at least in my small boy mind.Back then all athletes were fair, honest and clean. They reached their records and results through hard work, dedication and commitment, or at least that was what I and my peers thought.

The came Ben Johnson and his abuse of steroids when I was in my twenties – an entire world was dumbfounded – what had happened? With the realization that athletes used enhancement drugs to achieve their results came a sneaking sense that no results could be trusted. By the time of the fall of the Berlin Wall every nation had suspect athletes in their ranks, and hoards of them came forwards from the former Eastern European Block, where doping had been not only the regiment of the day for the individual athlete, but a State Practice.

Numerous World and Olympic records will never be broken, because the athletes who set them were cheating.

The most elusive of them all, to me is Flo-Jo’s 21.34 on 200 meters sprint. I am certain that will never be broken, and I am also certain that she was using illicit drugs to be able to run that fast. She was never caught, nor was her record ever questioned, at least not openly, and now we cannot ask her, because she’s dead – but, and consider this carefully – one of the known effects of abuse of steroids is premature heart failure – Flo-Jo died at age 38 from heart failure.

China swears that this Olympics will be absolutely clean. Yet, several athletes have already been sent home after testing positive for various banned substances.

I will be watching the events in this year’s Olympic Games, and for the most part I will enjoy myself, but every now and then will I ask, quietly “is that athlete clean?”. Because for each that is caught, I am sure that a handful is not.

I wish I was a small boy again, watching my heroes with unreserved adoration and belief that one day it could be me.

Henric

Posted in Human Rights | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

The Olympics, China and Human Rights

Posted by Henric C. Jensen on August 11, 2008


The Tibetans are just the first and most visible “problem” the Chinese are trying to “solve”

August 6, 2008, 22.25 CET

“I’m saying that the Games are a force for the world that will promote the social evolution in China, and the Games are a catalyst for change in China,” Rogge said. “But the Games, at the same time, are not the panacea for all the ills of the world.” (Jacques Rogge, IOC President).

Already 7 years ago, when China was awarded the Olympic Games this year I said that the Games would help focus the world’s attention on China and its violations of human rights.

I think I was right, I think I still am.

The Games themselves cannot solve the problem, but because the Games are Global and so uniquely covered by media, not just during the Games but also prior to them, the Olympic Games has in fact already done more to focus on and push China’s human rights violations to the forefront of average peoples’ minds, than what not awarding China and Beijing the Games in the first place could ever have done.

It may be that Samaranch used the globality of the Games to pick up financial revenues worth more than $2 billion by commercializing the Games which was part of the deal with China, but the price China is paying for that monetary kick-back is an increased scrutiny, criticism and awareness among ordinary people of exactly what is wrong in China today. It may be that these Olympic Summer Games will, in theory and technics, be a huge propaganda success, but exactly because focus has been on China for the last 7 years, people will see through the propaganda.

“The United States Olympic Committee had issued the specially designed masks to protect athletes from the potentially harmful air here. The U.S.O.C.’s lead exercise physiologist, Randy Wilber, had advised the athletes to wear the masks on the plane and as soon as they stepped foot here.”[…]”But U.S.O.C. officials were apparently unhappy with their choice, scolding the cyclists for walking off the plane wearing the masks because it might embarrass the host country, Friedman and Lea said. The cyclists said they did not remember the name of the official who spoke with them.”

Pollution is going to be a problem in Beijing – issuing breathing masks to athletes is a good thing. It wouldn’t be the first time, so it smacks of hypocrisy for the USOC to chastise the athletes for taking the advice of the USOC chief physician.

It is actually a human right to protect one’s health, and it would be a violation of that right to deny the athletes this protection, or say that they shouldn’t use what protection they can get when they feel they want to or need to.

Henric C. Jensen

Posted in Human Rights | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Sign the Petition

Posted by Henric C. Jensen on June 22, 2008


Children are Innocent

Link to Petition

We the undersigned respectfully request your attention in the name of Human Rights,

The United Nations is the outstretched arm of the global, International Community, and each UN Peacekeeper is, in reality, a representative for each individual member of that global community.

UN Peacekeepers and Personnel, when deployed, agree to be subject to an accepted mandate, to protect, serve, alleviate suffering, and establish peace in regions torn by war and conflict. Tacitly included in this mandate is the responsibility of each UN Peacekeeper/Personnel to represent to the civilian population of such regions, a beacon of hope, safety and trust, both for the immediate need and for the future.

UN Personnel are easily recognizable through their use of uniquely colored blue berets and helmets. When UN Personnel, both military and civilian, commit crimes against the local population in regions they are bound to protect, that trust and hope is betrayed and that blue color becomes tainted. If the crime committed is not dealt with quickly, is glossed over or is marginalized and not prosecuted, there can be no safety for those they are charged to watch over and safeguard.

When UN Personnel commit crimes of abuse against children in such regions, the betrayal is doubled, because those crimes not only smear the good name of the UN and its Personnel, past and present, throughout the globe, but the children who are the victims of such abusive crimes suffer the long-term effects that are the natural consequences of such horror, such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, an inability to trust, fear, and a whole host of psychological disorders and physical damage. Coupled with the fact that they are already in conflict situations that cause fear, the fact that those entrusted to care for them and make them safe have betrayed them, easily causes damage that will stay with them for life, and will engender fear and psychological problems they may pass on to their own children.

Internationally, the United Nations represents us all – the population of the World – and we, the undersigned, refuse to have our good names tainted by the despicable conduct of a few UN Personnel, who through their abusive actions against children in war zones, betray those children, their nation, and by proxy, the entire International Community.

We therefore, as part of the International Community, appeal to the UN Secretary General Mr. Ban Ki-Moon the Presidency of the International Criminal Court: Judge Philippe Kirsch (Canada) President, Judge Akua Kuenyehia (Ghana) as First Vice-President, Judge René Blattman (Bolivia) as Second Vice-President, the other two judiciary organs, the Security Council as presently constituted, the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court: Mr. Louis Moreno-Ocampo, the Deputy Prosecutor Mrs. Fatou Bensouda and what agents the office of the UN Secretary General may use to implement change and establish procedures for change, that measures be taken to put a stop to the abuse – sexual and otherwise – of children at the hands of UN Personnel in war zones. That criminal investigation begins immediately, the offending parties arrested in an expeditious manner and that a Tribunal is immediately seated to hear the case. To accomplish the above we urgently request the following be immediately implemented:

· Make all UN Personnel accountable to the International Crimes Court at in The Hague, alternatively establishing a permanent Tribunal for the Investigation and Prosecution of Crimes committed against children in war zones and make UN Personnel accountable to such a Tribunal.

· Make immediate superior officers accountable for the conduct of their troops on pain of loosing their commission and being given a dishonorable discharge as well as prosecuted in an UN based Court of Criminal Justice such as the ICC and not in their home country.

· Create a screening process for all UN Personnel going into the field to determine their suitability for the work, with focus on their attitudes towards children and sex with children.

· Together with an independent children’s organization, such as Save The Children, create a mandatory educational program that focuses on the harm done to child victims of abuse (sexual and otherwise) both short-term and long-term, and stresses the importance of UN personnel protecting children in war-zones from such abuse and how to prevent such abuse from being committed by UN Personnel.

· Allow independent NGO’s such as Save the Children, The Red Cross, and Doctors without Borders to conduct regular and frequent independent investigations and bring to justice such UN Personnel that have been found to be engaging in crimes (sexual and otherwise) in relation to children in War Zones.

· Make it mandatory for Superior officers to investigate rumors and reports from the local population of this kind of abuse, and make sure that such UN personnel that have been found to be engaging in crimes (sexual and otherwise) in relation to Children in War Zones are brought to answer to those charges before an International Court of Criminal Justice.

· For the purpose of expediency and to make International Criminal Justice available to the victims of crimes committed by UN Personnel in war zones, establish an independent International Office of Justice in each Region in which UN Personnel are stationed, so that the victims themselves can easily and safely bring their charges for investigation.

· If feasible, given the circumstances in each region, provide UN personnel a rotation duty cycle that allows them a safe period to seek out legal forms of relaxation conducive to their religion, country of origin or region of service. Any lack in facilities for such recreation to be provided for under UN supervision in direct connection to UN Posts.

From our hearts and our strong sense of responsibility to the children who, through no fault of their own, are forced to struggle on a daily basis with the horror of the conflicts created by adults in their regions for power, greed and politics, we, the undersigned, demand that you make such changes to protect those rights established by your own body in the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

We thank you for your time and efforts for human rights world-wide.

Link to Petition


Funny – people are actually propagating for not signing this petition either because they dislike the UN or because they don’t think a petition like this will make any difference.

They are nit-picking about the “us” as not being “representative of them” – now how can one hold the idea that being against child abuse is not “representative of them”? Isn’t that condoning child abuse, rape and exploitation? I say it is. These people claim that there are other venues and channels, than the UN, through which the aim of the petition can be achieved – interesting… that’s like saying that if I want my government to change or legislate about some criminal actions or deal with their corrupt servants, I shouldn’t address my government, but the automobile company down the road, because the owner is more representative of my opinions than the government… Yup, that sure is making a lot of sense. I want you to change your behavior – and I talk to my neighbor’s dog about it. Very smart.

Posted in Child abuse, Human Rights, UN | Leave a Comment »

UDHR article 16

Posted by Henric C. Jensen on June 4, 2008


About two years ago a gay man came into Human Rights Network and pleaded with the general public to extend the right to marry to GLBT people. He cited UDHR article 16:

Men and women of full age have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.

Full text of Article 16

He then ventured into a refutation of the notion some have that marriage is exclusively between a man and a woman – unfortunately he failed to use the most basic of refutations, which was right there in how the article is worded, and I am afraid that he might have antagonized his audience slightly.

UDHR Article 16 does not specify what gender men and women of full age have the right to marry. And that is the point – the very moment you define marriage as anything but what is defined in the UDHR or try and legislate a definition of marriage, you are in violation of the UDHR.

Many people hold the notion that homosexuality is unnatural, but they fail to understand the most basic fact about “natural” and what it is – “natural” is what comes natural to us – for gay people heterosexuality is not “natural”, homosexuality is. For straight people homosexuality is not “natural”, heterosexuality is. Because our sexuality is not a choice, it’s part of our make-up as humans, something we are born with.

Article 16 in the UDHR is not the only Human Rights Article that supports GLBT rights to equal marriage rights – Articles 12 and 22 do too:

Article 12.
No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to
attacks upon his honour and reputation.

Article 22.
Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to realization of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality.

Marriage as a legal contract between two people, in most civilized societies, includes economic, social and legal rights, privileges and obligations that are part of the basic human rights enumerated in the UDHR. Unless we want to claim that Gays and Lesbians are not human or are not part of the “Everyone”, we have to grant them equal rights, also when it comes to marriage, including the right to call their union “marriage”.

The wonderful thing about human rights is that I don’t have to agree that all are entitled to them, I only have to extend them to all.

Analogy: I am against abortion – I truly think that it is something that should be avoided – but I also recognize that others feel and think differently, and that I really do not have a right to make choices for others. Therefore it is my human obligation to make sure that abortion is a legal and available option.

Same thing with same-sex-marriages – people may feel that marriage is something that should be only between a man and a woman – but as they have no right to restrict other peoples’ options and possibilities, it is their human obligation to make sure that same-sex marriage is a legal and available option, so that Gays and Lesbians are guaranteed the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for their dignity and the free development of their personalities.

Posted in Human Rights, UDHR, UDHR Article 16 | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

 
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