Friday, September 30, 2011

Statement on the arrest of Mr. Sanjeev Bhatt, IPS Officer from Gujarat

Subject: Statement on the arrest of Mr. Sanjeev Bhatt, IPS Officer from Gujarat

We strongly condemn the arrest of Mr. Sanjeev Bhatt, the IPS Officer from Gujarat ,on frivolous grounds.
Mr. Bhatt has been extremely forthright in his stand for truth and justice, very particularly, on the Gujarat
Carnage of 2002.  Now he has to pay the price! 

This is yet another instance of the fascism that thrives in Gujarat State.  

We demand Mr. Bhatt's unconditional and immediate release!

Fr. Cedric Prakash sj
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PRASHANT   (A Centre for Human Rights, Justice and Peace)
Street Address : Hill Nagar, Near Kamdhenu Hall, Drive-in Road, Ahmedabad - 380052, Gujarat, India
Postal Address : P B 4050, Navrangpura PO, Ahmedabad - 380 009, Gujarat, India
Phone : 91  79   27455913,  66522333
Fax : 91  79  27489018

Petition: Release human rights defender Arun Ferreira immediately



Petition: Release human rights defender Arun Ferreira immediately

The petition below demanding Arun Ferreira's release has been drafted by Fr. Cedric Prakash. The petition can be signed online here.

Human Rights defenders are constantly targeted because they work on behalf of the poor,the victims and other marginalised peoples.Arun Ferreira is a case in point.Since 2007 he has been illegally jailed

and tortured.The Trial Court exonerated him of all charges on September 27th 2011..Just as he walked free from jail,he was forcibly arrested again without any charges.This is a terrible blot on a country

which believes in democracy and the freedom of every single citizen.

Arun was first arrested in 2007. He was also tortured in prison. Among the charges was that he was a Maoist. The prosecution was unable to produce any evidence to substantiate the charges and he was acquitted by the trial court. However, he was rearrested immediately on other false charges.

While still in jail in Nagpur, he completed long distance a post-graduate diploma course from the Indian Institute of Human Rights (IIHR), Delhi, with flying colours. The IIHR director Rahul Rai told a reporter, "Arun has done brilliantly in the exam. He has also submitted four project reports in keeping with the demands of the course, which were very maturely written considering the lack of resources available to an undertrial."

Arun and his fellow political prisoners helped other prisoners file petitions and fight their cases in the court. Only last month, the Nagpur bench of the Maharashtra High Court ruled in favor of one such prisoner and awarded him compensation for wrongful confinement. The trial court had acquitted the prisoner and ordered his release, but the police failed to release him. The judgement is available in full here.

More on Arun Ferreira is available here.

Please do sign the petition demanding his release.

Release human rights defender Arun Ferreira immediately

Further we request that once you're done, to ask your friends/contacts to sign the petition as well.

If you are on facebook do share this with your other fb friends too

 Grassroots movements succeed because people like you are willing to spread the word! 

So we need as many signatures as possible,very soon.

.If you have received this request more than once,kindly ignore the cross-posting.

Thank you for your understanding and patience and for being involved in a very important campaign


PRASHANT   (A Centre for Human Rights, Justice and Peace)
Street Address : Hill Nagar, Near Kamdhenu Hall, Drive-in Road, Ahmedabad - 380052, Gujarat, India
Postal Address : P B 4050, Navrangpura PO, Ahmedabad - 380 009, Gujarat, India
Phone : 91  79   27455913,  66522333
Fax : 91  79  27489018

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Wangari Maathai (1940-2011)

Wangari Maathai (1940-2011)

Dear colleagues,
It is with great sadness that we have received news that Wangari Maathai passed away yesterday, September 25, in her home country of Kenya surrounded by her three children.
As founder of the Greenbelt Movement and as an Earth Charter Commissioner, she worked closely with thousands of people around the planet to create a world based on ecological integrity, social and economic justice, democracy, non-violence, and peace. Her vision, dedication, and courage were recognized when she received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004.
She taught and lectured at many universities around the world, including the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies at Yale.

She participated in several of our Forum conferences on World Religions and Ecology, most especially in 1998 at the UN and the American Museum of Natural History in NYC.

She spoke eloquently at Thomas Berry's memorial service in 2009 at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York. She delivered an inspiring video message in 2005 at the UN at the celebration of the 50th anniversary of Teilhard's death.
Her final book Replenishing the Earth: Spiritual Values for Healing Ourselves and the World (Doubleday, 2010) is a splendid summary of her vision for our world.
We are sending you UNEP's tribute to this valiant woman. May her lifework continue in each of you!
Warmest wishes,
Mary Evelyn Tucker and John Grim
The Forum on Religion and Ecology at Yale

UNEP Pays Tribute to Professor Wangari Maathai

United Nations Environment Programme
September 26, 2011

- Professor Wangari Maathai, Nobel Peace Prize laureate, founder of Kenya's Green Belt Movement and patron of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Billion Tree Campaign, has died in Nairobi. She was 71 years old.

Professor Maathai was one of Africa's foremost environmental campaigners, internationally recognized for her commitment to democracy, human rights and conservation.

She founded the Green Belt Movement in 1977, encouraging women in rural Kenya to plant trees in order to improve their livelihoods through better access to clean water, firewood for cooking and other resources. Since then, the Green Belt Movement has planted over 30 million trees in Africa and assisted nearly 900,000 women to establish tree nurseries and plant trees to reverse the effects of deforestation.

"Her departure is untimely and a very great loss to all of us who knew her, as a mother, relative, co-worker, colleague, role model, and heroine or those who admired her determination to make the world a peaceful, healthy and better place for all of us", said the Green Belt Movement in a statement.

In 2004, the Nobel Prize Committee recognized Professor Maathai's lifelong commitment to environmental sustainability and the empowerment of women by awarding her the Nobel Peace Prize. She was the first environmentalist and the first African woman to receive the honour.

In announcing the award, the Norwegian Nobel Committee said that Professor Maathai was "at the front of the fight to promote ecologically viable social, economic and cultural development in Kenya and in Africa."

Professor Maathai was the inspiration behind UNEP's Billion Tree Campaign, which was launched in 2006. She became a patron of the campaign, inspiring thousands of people across the world to plant trees for the benefit of their communities. To date, over 11 billion trees have been planted as part of the campaign.

Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary General and UNEP Executive Director, said: "Wangari Maathai was a force of nature. While others deployed their power and life force to damage, degrade and extract short term profit from the environment, she used hers to stand in their way, mobilize communities and to argue for conservation and sustainable development over destruction."

"She was, like the acacias and the Prunus Africana trees Wangari fought so nobly and assiduously to conserve, strong in character and able to survive sometimes the harshest of conditions. She was also immovable in the face of ignorance, political gamesmanship and wanton environmental destruction," he said.

"Indeed she risked her life and limb on several occasions to campaign and coordinate women and young people through her work in the Green Belt Movement taking her messages, her charm, her unflagging humour and optimism, conviction, honesty and intellect from her native Kenya to the highest international debates on climate change to biodiversity loss," continued Mr. Steiner.

"In winning the Nobel Peace Prize, the world caught up with the essence and lifetime understanding of this special person: namely that environmental stability and sustainability will increasingly be crucial for a peaceful world and for over turning poverty, inequality and meeting the rights of women," he added.

"I am pleased that in some of the dark days of her campaigning, when not everyone welcomed her stance and commitment, Wangari was able to turn to UNEP for safety and sanctuary. She returned that support in so many ways by backing and batting for UNEP at home and abroad and by, for example, being a co-patron of our Billion Tree Campaign," said the UNEP Executive Director.

"UNEP has lost a real friend and an icon of the environmental movement. But her work and her vision will live on in the millions upon millions of people - young and old - who heard Wangari's voice, resonated with her aims and ideals and like her rolled up their sleeves to design and define a better future for all," he concluded.

Professor Maathai's unflinching commitment to human rights and democracy led to her appointment as a United Nations Messenger of Peace by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in 2009.

Testament to her ability to reach communities around the world with her advocacy, Professor Maathai was the recipient of numerous awards from governments and international institutions. She received France's L├ęgion d'Honneur in 2006, the Nelson Mandela Award for Health and Human Rights in 2007 and Japan's Order of the Rising Sun in 2009. She received honorary doctorates from several universities.

Born near Nyeri in Kenya's Central Highlands in 1940, Wangari Maathai received her education in Kenya and the USA, from where she earned a Bachelor from Mt. St. Scholastica College and a Masters from the University of Pittsburgh.

She was the first woman in East and Central Africa to earn a doctorate degree, obtaining it from the University of Nairobi in 1971.

"I am extremely saddened by the death of a dear sister and a great African. Her work on the environment, expansion of democratic space, the rights of the downtrodden, especially women, and the well-being of the girl-child, will define her legacy.

It is rare for one to find acceptance and recognition at home and abroad, Wangari did that almost effortlessly. Her message was clear. Her conviction, commitment and passion were real and obvious. She was an excellent teacher, a great listener and a wise counselor.

For UNEP, she was an excellent partner who never tired of supporting the organization's ideals and represented it well whenever requested. In short, she believed in what we did. We will truly miss her. She was an exceptional and outstanding woman," said UNEP Deputy Executive Director Amina Mohamed.

In December 2002, Professor Maathai was elected to Kenya's parliament and appointed Assistant Minister for environment and natural resources.

Professor Maathai is survived by her three children, Waweru, Wanjira and Muta, and her granddaughter, Ruth Wangari. 


-  A Centre for Human Rights, Justice and Peace
Street Address : (For COURIER)

Hill Nagar, Near Kamdhenu Hall, Drive-in Road, Ahmedabad - 380052, Gujarat, India
Postal Address (ONLY for ORDINARY MAIL):
 P B 4050, Navrangpura PO, Ahmedabad - 380 009, Gujarat, India
Phone : +91  79   27455913,  66522333
Fax : +91  79  27489018