From Mike Hitchen Online Let's Hear You! presents selected news and information from non profit organizations and individuals promoting community or rights oriented issues.
Items are selected from a wide range of sources and are not confined to major or international issues. Submissions from individuals or organizations (large or small) are welcome.
Lilian Tintori, the wife of Venezuelan opposition leader and political prisoner Leopoldo Lopez, today challenged President Nicolas Maduro
to release her husband and more than 100 other political prisoners,
given the government's failure to produce evidence or respect their
human rights. Tintori, along with Leopoldo's mother, father and two
sisters, appeared at the National Press Club as part of an ongoing
international tour that has included stops in Latin America and Europe.
one in the world should doubt why Leopoldo is in prison. President
Maduro is afraid of him," said Tintori. "My husband needs the support
of all countries around the world that stand for freedom. We need a
clear message sent to President Maduro and the Government of Venezuela that it cannot trample on the rights of its people with impunity."
Tintori was joined by Lopez's international human rights lawyer Jared Genser,
who released a white paper documenting numerous violations of legal
due process and human rights that have been committed before and since
Lopez's arrest on February 19, 2014.
an exhaustive review of the government's case and actions against Mr.
Lopez, this is as clear cut a case of political injustice you will find
anywhere in the world," said Genser. "The prosecution and judiciary has
acted on the direct orders of the political leadership; they have
presented no evidence against Mr. Lopez; they have not allowed
eyewitnesses to speak and they have rejected numerous items of evidence
including video proving Mr. Lopez's innocence; there has not been even
the pretense of due process."
the world acts to hold the Venezuelan government accountable, it will
continue to lock up its dissenters with impunity," said Genser.
Lopez's trial was scheduled to begin this week, on July 23,
although past court dates have been postponed with little warning or
explanation. Lopez has been held in isolation in a military prison
since his arrest. The government has charged him with public
incitement, damage to property, fire damage and "association for
The following is a joint statement by
Cambodia National Rescue Foundation (CNRF), Kampuchea-Krom Federation
(KKF), Cambodian-American for Human Rights and Democracy (CAHRAD), Khmer
People Network for Cambodia (KPNC), Cambodia National Rescue Party in USA (CRNP-USA), Cambodian-American Communities and Cambodian Communities Oversea:
Cambodian Americans across the United States of America
as well as other overseas Cambodian communities' members around the
world are outraged by the recent remarks made by the Vietnamese Embassy
spokesman Trung Van Thong to Cambodia that the former Kampuchea Krom provinces belonged to Vietnam long before French Colonialist officially transferred control to Cochinchina governor in 1949.
The remarks have not only offended Khmer Krom communities around the world, but also misled the public about the true history of the Khmer Krom.
We demand the Vietnamese government to retract the remarks made by its Embassy Spokesman in Phnom-Penh, Cambodia, Mr. Trung Van Thong, and publicly make an apology to Khmer people.
Early and forced marriage among Syrian refugee girls in Jordan has doubled since the onset of war, Save the Children said today.
Data collected by UNICEF shows a quarter of all Syrian refugee marriages registered in Jordan
now involve a girl under the age of 18. Save the Children said that
extreme poverty and increasing fears of sexual violence among Syrian
refugee communities mean that some parents feel they have no choice but
to marry their daughters to keep them 'protected.'
Child marriage did exist in pre-conflict Syria — at 13 percent of all marriages — but the latest figures show that this figure has doubled for those girls that have fled to Jordan, and that half (48 percent) are being forced to marry men at least 10 years older than they are.
"Child marriage is devastating for those girls concerned," said Save the Children President and CEO Carolyn Miles.
"Girls who marry before 18 are more likely to experience domestic
violence than their peers who marry later, and they have much more
limited access to sexual and reproductive health, putting their young
bodies at extreme risk if and when they become pregnant."
Save the Children's new report, "Too Young to Wed: The Growing Problem of Child Marriage Among Syrian Girls in Jordan,"
spells out a number of reasons why families are opting for early
marriage for their daughters. As refugees, Syrian families are reliant
on dwindling resources and lacking economic opportunities. At the same
time, they are all too aware of the need to protect their daughters from
the threat of sexual violence. Given these pressures, some families
consider child marriage to be the best way to protect their female
children and ease family resources.
who drop out of school are more likely to marry, and conversely,
children who get married are more likely to drop out of education, with
girls expected to leave school in order to care for their husband and
home, or to begin childbearing and childcare.
"Too Young to Wed" also points to the "determined resistance" of some
refugee families, noting cases of mothers' resolute rejection of child
marriage. Among the reasons mothers gave were that their daughters were
too young, and that they wanted their daughters to complete their
"These girls, who by fleeing the war in Syria
have already been subjected to more than any child should, are at
extreme risk of mental-health issues resulting from social isolation,
stress and abuse," said Miles. "But the repercussions of forced marriage
can be physical, as well as mental – and even deadly. The consequences
for girls' health of engaging in sexual activity while their bodies are
still developing are devastating: girls under 15 are five times more
likely to die in childbirth than fully-grown women."
Save the Children, along with partners, runs community awareness-raising programs with children, adolescents and parents in Jordan, with a focus on preventing child marriage.
Save the Childrengives children in the United States
and around the world a healthy start, the opportunity to learn and
protection from harm. We invest in childhood-- every day, in times of
crisis and for our future. Follow us onTwitterandFacebook.
A three-judge panel of the Fifth Circuit Court
of Appeals found the racial and ethnic classifications and preferences
of the Univ. of Texas's admissions polices to be constitutional.
The case, Abigail Fisher v. Univ. of Texas, was decided by the U.S. Supreme Court on June 24, 2013. In a 7-1 opinion authored by Justice Anthony Kennedy (Justice Kagan
recused), the justices vacated an earlier ruling by the same
three-judge panel writing that the Fifth Circuit did not properly apply
the correct legal standard for using race preferences in the admissions
process. The case was then remanded back to the panel for the
application of the proper legal standard know as "strict scrutiny."
Last November, during arguments in Austin, Texas
before the panel, Ms. Fisher's lawyers argued that UT was precluded
from using racial and ethnic classifications and preferences because of
the success of the race-neutral Top Ten Percent Plan which resulted in
greater minority diversity at UT than did an earlier racial preference
program. Strict scrutiny requires that a university implement
race-neutral admissions policies to achieve diversity before lastly
resorting to race preferences.
said, "It is disappointing that the judges hearing my case are not
following the Supreme Court's ruling last summer. I remain committed to
continuing this lawsuit even if it means we appeal to the Supreme Court
added, "It is a shame that for the last six years, hundreds of UT
applicants were denied admission because of UT's racial and ethnic
director of the Project on Fair Representation (POFR), said, "While
disappointing, this opinion was not unexpected based upon the
questioning and comments made by the court during our last hearing in
continued, "This panel was proven wrong last year by the Supreme Court
and we believe it will be proven wrong once again on appeal."
POFR is a legal defense foundation based in Alexandria, Virginia that has provided pro bono legal representation to individuals and jurisdictions in a number of important U.S. Supreme Court cases, including in NW Austin MUD v. Holder, Shelby Co. Ala. v. Holder and Abigail Fisher v. Univ. of Texas-Austin.
A coalition of Cypriots, including a European
parliamentarian, have filed a criminal complaint against Turkish
government officials in the International Criminal Court ("ICC") in The Hague
today. The petitioners call on the ICC prosecutor to open an
investigation into ongoing Turkish crimes on the territory of the
Republic of Cyprus,
and in particular, the continued growth of Turkish settlements in the
occupied territory. The Turkish occupation is one of the most brazen
settlement enterprises in modern times, as colonists from the Turkish
mainland now constitute as much as half the population of the occupied
The communication is being filed by the Hon. Kostas Mavrides, a member of the European Parliament from Cyprus and Cypriots Against Turkish War Crimes (CATWR), an association of mainly Cypriots and refugees from the Turkish invasion of the Republic of Cyprus.
The Shurat HaDin Law Center assisted in researching and drafting the complaint.
This unprecedented demand for a war crimes investigation seeks to end the impunity Turkey has enjoyed for its criminal conduct since it invaded the island Republic on July 20, 1974. Turkey's settlement activity in northern Cyprus
is well-documented, having been recognized by the European Court of
Human Rights and the United Nations. Yet despite this, and despite its
occupation of an EU member state, Turkey and its leaders have avoided any legal consequences for their crimes.
investigation by the Court's prosecutor would be the first attempt to
shine the harsh light of international criminal justice on the Turkish
occupation. The complaint demonstrates that Turkey
is in blatant and systematic violation of Art. 8(2)(b)(viii) of the
Court's Statute, which prohibits an occupying power from directly or
indirectly transferring its civilians into the occupied territory. Turkey
has, continuously since the invasion, recruited, encouraged and
transported Turks from rural areas of the mainland to come settle the
occupied territory. The demographic magnitude of the settler
establishment threatens the feasibility of a mutually-acceptable end to
According to MEP Kostas Mavrides : "The settlement and other crimes committed in the occupied part of Cyprus
by Turkish officers is not a political issue. It is a matter of
international law and justice. Now, it is up to the ICC to investigate
the facts and decide in favour of civilization and human rights."
has been a member of the Court since its establishment in 2002. No
nation recognizes the legitimacy of sovereignty of the Turkish
occupation regime in northern Cyprus. Thus, the ICC clearly has jurisdiction over the war crimes committed by the Turkish government in the occupied territory.
CATWR is represented by Athan Tsimpedes based in Washington DC, who has initiated a lawsuit against the illegal occupation in the US Courts.