Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Friday, January 27, 2006

Deadly Fireworks Production in Egypt

In the town of El-Nazia, fireworks production is disfiguring and killing impoverished citizens who must work in the factory making these explosives because they have no other source of income. Women, men, and children are suffering from disfigurations and countless wounds due to dangerous working conditions. Women and children pack the explosives, and men mix the powders. The government has made these fireworks illegal and has urged the workers of El-Nazia to stop production. The workers claim that the government has no concern for them, or it would supply the community of El-Nazia with more factories, export stores, and other income sources. The problem comes down to the fact that fireworks are constantly used for various celebrations, especially during Ramadan. To accommodate these festive needs, the country imports fireworks from China rather than buying them from the illegal product houses in El-Nazia. The workers believe that if the government only gave them money to build a proper factory with embedded safety precautions, the nation could buy their fireworks for a cheaper rate, rather than importing at higher costs. Meanwhile, the poverty-stricken families in El-Nazia will continue to illegally produce fireworks, injuring many, and killing some. Read the whole story here:

Thursday, January 26, 2006

International Human Rights News Update

Google's deal with China hurts freedom of expression, Institute on Religion and Public Policy says

The Institute on Religion and Public Policy this week released a statement condemning Google's move to aquiesce to Chinese government demands by self-censoring its Chinese website.
IRRP writes:

"Google has long been a champion of the free flow of ideas and information. In its "Ten Things Google has Found to be True," the company stresses that "the need for information crosses all borders," "democracy on the web works," and that there is an ability to make money "without doing evil," the letter continued. "With Google, Inc.’s self-censorship agreement in China, it has violated its own body of beliefs. There will be no information without borders, no democracy of the internet; instead, Google has turned its back on freedom of information in favor of profits."

Read the whole press release at http://religionandpolicy.org/show.php?p=1.1.1734.

Saudi bloggers on the rise

Stephen Schwartz reports in The Weekly Standard that blogging is taking off as a forum for uncharacteristially free speech in Saudi Arabia in "Blogging Saudi Arabia." Schwartz writes that the 80 active blogs maintained within the country are "daring in their freedom of expression."

Schwartz continues:

"Saudi Blogs": For all its simplicity, the phrase has a revolutionary ring, like "Continental Congress" or "Polish Solidarity." Poland and the other Soviet-bloc Communist dictatorships were liberated with the help of the mimeograph and Xerox machines. Saudi Arabia and Iran may be freed by blogs and camera phones, perhaps giving Saudi King Abdullah more than he bargained for in the way of "an advanced Muslim technology." For now, the Saudi authorities continue to block conventional websites maintained by reformists, like tuwaa.com, while permitting infamous Wahhabi hate sites, like alsaha.com, to operate. But the tyrants are falling behind and losing control of events.

For the full story, go to http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/006/613tpofh.asp?pg=1.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

News update from Iraq

Women Seek Leadership Positions in Iraq
As the results of Iraq's parliamentary elections began to trickle in, one Washington-based group of Iraqi expatriates were more concerned with gender than with party or ethnic affiliation. "We want the recognition of women to be leaders, to be in the 'making decisions' positions," said Hanaa Edwar, an advocate for women's rights.
Read about it on
http://www.upi.com/InternationalIntelligence/view.php?StoryID=20060123-055826-6853r (Jan. 24. 2006)

Gold as the Payment for Temporary Marriages
A rise in the incidence of “temporary” marriages among Shi’ite Muslims in Iraq is causing concern among women’s rights activists.
“The poverty, especially for women who have lost their husbands in the years of war, is the main reason for them accepting such agreements,” said Salua Fatihi, head of two non-governmental women’s rights organizations in southern Iraq. “It’s an easy way to protect their children and put food on the table.”
Read about it on
http://www.irinnews.org/report.asp?ReportID=51268&SelectRegion=Middle_East&SelectCountry=IRAQ (Jan 23, 2006)

Women’s Role in Islamic Countries is Critical
Women who have lived in a subordinate role in Islamic societies have the potential to speed both the economic and political process of these countries in a positive direction.
Read about it on
http://www.csmonitor.com/2006/0118/p09s02-cojh.html (Jan 18, 2006)

Iraqi Women’s Freedom in Jeopardy
Iraq’s civil courts are crucial for the preservation of women’s rights.
"Muslim women are going to suffer if the civil courts are completely abolished," said Annam Al-Soltany, a lawyer and a member of the Progressive Women's League, an Iraqi group lobbying for constitutional reforms benefiting women."
Read the whole story at www.newhousenews.com/archive/palmer011006.html
(Jan. 10, 2006)

Hussein’s Crimes against Humanity
The Foundation for the Defense of Democracies has placed on its website videos from inside Iraq of torture and murder, ordered by Saddam Hussein.
(Please note: Graphic material)
To view them, go to

Iraqi Unity Sought by US
Iraq’s biggest Sunni political bloc committed itself to talk with Shi'ites and Kurds to form a government for national unity, but said its key demands, including changes to the constitution, have to be met. The United States is very eager to drive the political process in the direction of a stable agreement and wants the Kurds and majority Shi'ites, who dominated last month's elections, to form a government that includes minority Sunnis.
Read the whole story at www.kurd.org