Apr 282008
 

“The Marine accused of raping a 14-year-old Okinawa girl in February now faces court-martial charges that could send him to prison for the rest of his life.

Staff Sgt. Tyrone L. Hadnott, 38, faces multiple charges in connection with the Feb. 10 incident, according to a news release the Marine Corps issued Friday.

He has been in the brig on Camp Hansen since Feb. 28, when he was released from Japanese custody after prosecutors decided not seek a rape indictment.

If Hadnott is convicted, he faces punishment more severe than the maximum 15-year sentence he would have faced in Japanese court.

While he was being detained and questioned by Okinawa police he admitted to attempting to kiss and fondle the girl, but denied raping her, an Okinawa police spokesman said.”

“Hadnott now faces two counts of violating Article 120 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, specifically raping a child under the age of 16 and abusive sexual contact with a child under the age of 16.

The first charge carries a life sentence without the possibility of parole; the second carries a maximum 15-year prison sentence.

In addition, he is charged with two violations of Article 134, specifically committing adultery and kidnapping. The adultery charge carries a maximum one-year prison sentence. The “kidnapping through inveigling” charge carries a maximum of life without parole.”

“According to Okinawa police, Hadnott met three girls at an ice cream parlor in Okinawa City on Feb. 10.

He allegedly took the 14-year-old to his off-base home.

While there he allegedly tried to force himself on her and she fled, but he caught up to her and talked her into accepting a ride home in his van, according to the police report.

Instead of taking her home, Okinawa police said Hadnott drove to a seaside park in Chatan and raped her.”

“News that he faces multiple military charges was welcomed by Shigeko Urasaki, an organizer for Okinawa Women’s Net, one of the groups that held protests.

“I hope that the court-martial will give him the punishment that he rightly deserves,” Urasaki said.

She said that in the Japanese justice system, a sexual assault case cannot go forward if the victim withdraws her complaint before indictment.”

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 April 28, 2008  Posted by on April 28, 2008 Comments Off on Marine Accused Of Raping 14-Year Old Okinawan Girl Faces Court-Martial
Apr 242008
 

Received via the Women in Black mailing list:

South African Lsbian and Gay Community Concerned About Democracy Crisis in Zimbabwe

The South African Lesbian and Gay Equality Project (LGEP), formerly known as the National Coalition for Gay and Lesbian Equality (NCGLE), is concerned about the deepening political, economic and social crises in Zimbabwe. We express our full solidarity with the lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, women, workers and all the people of Zimbabwe. We add our voice in condemning the unjustified delay in the release of the 29 March elections. As Zimbabwean Independence Day approaches on 18 April 2008, Zimbabweans have nothing to celebrate in honour of their heroic liberation struggle and historic achievement of freedom and democracy.

The actions of the government of Zimbabwe, the police, the army, the judiciary and the Zimbabwean Elections Commission are against universally accepted democratic principles and practice. The Zimbabwean government is responsible for the social and economic crises facing that country. The crises are rooted in actual social stratification processes and ZANU-PF policy choices that support them. These originate from the early 1990s adoption of neo-liberal Structural Adjustment Programmes by Mugabe’s government. They have been reinforced by the failure of that government to transform that country’s economy into one at the hands and service of the needs of the overwhelming majority of the people. It is under such conditions that principles of democracy, equality and non-discrimination get sacrificed and political leaders look for easy scapegoats to hide their failures. No wonder then that Mugabe’s first targets were lesbian and gay people in Zimbabwe.

The homophobia promoted by ZANU-PF is not divorced from the oppression of women, the exploitation of workers and the gross violation of human rights that the same government has been responsible for. Beyond majority numbers, democracy is also about progressive values of equality, freedom, human rights and non-discrimination.
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 April 24, 2008  Posted by on April 24, 2008 Comments Off on South African Lsbian And Gay Community Concerned About Democracy Crisis In Zimbabwe
Apr 242008
 

Okay, I get that it remains to be seen whether this country can get over the sexism or racism hurdle when it comes to electing a president, so getting over both at the same time is a wee bit of a stretch, and I know that I will be raked over the coals for even murmuring that there should be a third candidate who would take votes away from the Democratic candidate, but this country needs to hear what McKinney is saying. Here’s hoping she is included in the debates.

(Cynthia) McKinney, a former congressional representative from Georgia, abandoned the Democratic Party last year in disgust at its failure to end the U.S. troop presence in Iraq, and is now poised for a presidential run on the Green Party ticket.”

“The likelihood of McKinney winning the nomination at the party’s national convention in Chicago this summer is “very high”, Richard Winger, editor of Ballot Access News, told IPS, although he added that the Green Party will have a “one in a million” chance of winning the presidency this November.

“This country, even though it claims to be such a model, is one of the least democratic countries because election laws, campaign finance laws, and laws around debates openly discriminate against all parties except two parties [Republican and Democrat],” Winger said.

“In other countries, there is one set of [ballot access] laws,” instead of 51 sets governing the 50 states and the capital, he said. “This is the only country that exempts the two biggest parties from having to qualify.””

“”Some people have been out of the political system for a very long time,” McKinney noted. “They made a choice to not be involved in the political process. After a series of disappointments, people made a rational choice. Unfortunately, the U.S. participation rates are well below that of other countries.”

In recent years, Green parties have been racking up electoral successes around the world, particularly in Europe.

“The Green Party participated in the coalition that led in Germany and in Ireland and in the Kenyan Parliament,” McKinney said. “The Green Party is international.”

“We have a winner-take-all system in the U.S. that pushes conformity,” she added. “Regressive ballot access laws in Georgia [and other states] prevent candidates from getting on the ballot.”

“The Green Party is a political entity that deserves to be built,” she said.”

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 April 24, 2008  Posted by on April 24, 2008 Comments Off on McKinney Poised To Be Green Party Candidate
Apr 232008
 

Press Release from Human Rights Watch:

LONDON – April 21 – Saudi Arabia’s male guardianship of women and policies of sex segregation stop women from enjoying their basic rights, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. Saudi women often must obtain permission from a guardian (a father, husband, or even a son) to work, travel, study, marry, or even access health care.

In a 50-page report, “Perpetual Minors: Human Rights Abuses Stemming from Male Guardianship and Sex Segregation in Saudi Arabia,” Human Rights Watch draws on more than 100 interviews with Saudi women to document the effects of these discriminatory policies on woman’s most basic rights.

“The Saudi government sacrifices basic human rights to maintain male control over women,” said Farida Deif, women’s rights researcher for the Middle East at Human Rights Watch. “Saudi women won’t make any progress until the government ends the abuses that stem from these misguided policies.”

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 April 23, 2008  Posted by on April 23, 2008 Comments Off on Saudi Arabia: Male Guardianship Policies Harm Women
Apr 222008
 

UN SHOULD LEAD BY EXAMPLE SAYS FWRM

THE FIJI Women’s Rights Movement is deeply disappointed at the lack of transparency and accountability in the appointment process for UNIFEM¹s newExecutive Director. On April 7th, the United Nations announced the appointment of a candidate from Spain, despite having identified India¹s Dr.Gita Sen as the best candidate from those short-listed.

“We still do not know why or how the new ED was chosen. This type of non-transparent process threatens our belief in the UN system,” said FWRM Executive Director, Virisila Buadromo.

FWRM had joined over 600 other organizations from around the world – from women¹s organizations, global networks, advocacy groups, and other civil society organizations – calling for the appointment of the leading candidate from India. She had been unanimously chosen by the UNDP Selection Committee

“The UN should reflect the highest principles of governance, accountability, and professionalism in its selection process and it is a concern to us that these standards do not appear to have been followed” says Buadromo.

“We expect the UN to stick to its principles of justice and equality, and lead the world by example. We have been let down, and are concerned about’ the implications of this flawed process on the UN¹s commitment to gender’ equality, women’s rights and empowerment,” Buadromo said.

FWRM calls on the UN to be transparent and accountable to women around the globe, by explaining in detail the UNIFEM selection process. FWRM believes financial contributions should not be a factor in the process under any circumstances. If these basic principles of fairness and equity are not adhered to, the selection process should be reviewed.

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FWRM is a multi-ethnic and multicultural NGO committed to removing discrimination against women. By means of core programmes, as well as innovative approaches, the FWRM practice promotes democracy, good governance, feminism and human rights. It strives to empower, unite and provide leadership opportunities for women in Fiji, especially for emerging young leaders.

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“In a statement, DAWN, a network of researchers on gender issues based in Africa, Asia and the Americas, expressed dismay at the choice.

“We feel the selection process has been deeply flawed and its integrity violated,” it said.

DAWN said it understood that the interview panel looking at six shortlisted candidates had identified Indian academic Gita Sen, a founder of DAWN, as the best.

“However, because of the U.N.’s concerns over funding and significant and open political pressure from the government of Spain, other names from the shortlist were brought back into consideration,” it said.

“This is a tragedy for the U.N. in terms of its ability to to draw competent candidates, transparency and fairness, and its credibility with women’s movements and development organizations.””

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 April 22, 2008  Posted by on April 22, 2008 Comments Off on Fiji Women’s right Movement: U.N. Should Lead By Example