coal mining, Crack-down on Rights, deforestation, environment, environmental activism India, environmental activism Russia, environmental activists, environmentalism, farming, fishing, forests, Free Speech, Freedom of Movement, Greenpeace, Greenpeace India, Human Rights, India, indigenous people, indigenous rights, no fly, Nuclear Power Station, nuclear reactors, persecution of environmentalists, resource extraction, Russia, Russian President Putin, Solar, surface mining
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights says: “Article 13-(2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.” http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/ (It should say “their own“, to make abundantly clear that it includes men and women.)
Images from Greenpeace; see Greenpeace article after our commentary.
The UK had a long tradition of deporting its political dissidents and other unwanted peoples, though it, and Ireland, refuse to make good on the right of return, for those whose ancestors were forced out.
Now a Greenpeace employee has been prevented by India from leaving! Who ever heard of such a thing? Don’t countries usually want to get rid of activists? After some head-scratching in wonder, we recalled first that Saudi women cannot travel without a male’s approval, and then that the Russian Soviet Union used to restrict travel outside its borders.
Locals in Tamil Nadu India fought for over a decade against a dangerously located (and surprisingly defective) nuclear power station sold to them by the former Soviet Union ca. 1988, when India was in the Soviet sphere of influence. They suffered much oppression in this fight. This nuclear power station was only recently completed, with Russia’s help, and just went back on grid after many mishaps-failures. It has a hard to recall name that puts in mind thankful German cows and a lamb: Kudankulam or Koodankulam. This defective Russian Nuclear Power Station is nearby a largely Christian community in India, suggesting that Putin is still a Soviet KGB atheist, rather than a protector of the Christian faith, which he plays at for PR purposes. Pro-nuclear law enforcement urinated in the Catholic Church, near the Kudankulam Nuclear Station, and broke Madonnas, in an effort to break the spirits of anti-nuclear activists. There have been Christians in southern Indian for 2,000 years. [The US has no lessons to give either: An objective examination of US foreign policy shows that, contrary to popular opinion, they almost always take the side against Christians  Not all anti-nuclear activists at Kudankulam were Christians. The real issue is protecting fisheries and farming from dangerous radionuclides, which nuclear reactors legally emit all the time. Then, of course, the more devastating consequences of a nuclear accident.
In December, Russian President Putin came bearing promises of more nuclear reactors, along with weaponry, oil and diamonds! See: “Russia India: Putin agrees to build 10 nuclear reactors“, 11 December 2014 http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-30408274. A New York Times Opinion piece noted regarding Putin’s visit to Russia: “The two sides also signed billions of dollars in nuclear power, oil and defense deals.” http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/27/opinion/mr-putins-global-courtships.html
Will these new nuclear reactors also be made with dangerously substandard parts? Isn’t nuclear dangerous enough already?
Russia is also repressing environmental activists. No surprises as environmentalists oppose Putin’s exploitive, Stalinist, resource-extraction/heavy industry economic model, which has always taken a heavy toll on the environment and traditional-indigenous peoples: https://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2015/01/11/reactors-from-russia-are-unsafe-and-unreliable-says-russian-environmentalist/ To fully understand the difference between the Stalinist model and people’s liberation, one need only compare Ortega’s resource-extraction model for Nicaragua to El Salvador which, under the FMLN, is being sued by a Canadian mining company for trying to protect the environment from resource extraction: http://www.tni.org/article/responsibilities-or-rights-el-salvadors-struggle-against-corporate-impunity
Greenpeace India is working very hard in the promotion of decentralized solar energy. Solar is clearly a winner for India. Why would sun-bathed India need non-renewables like nuclear or coal?
From Greenpeace India:
“Greenpeace employee banned from leaving India on government orders. No official reason provided.
Feature story – January 11, 2015
New Delhi, 11 January 2015: In yet another attempt to muzzle Greenpeace India, Priya Pillai, Senior Campaigner with the organisation was stopped at New Delhi airport this morning by the immigration office and denied to get onboard her flight to London.
Priya Pillai was stopped at immigration and her passport was stamped with ‘offloaded’. This is a clear and blatant violation of her rights, especially because she has a valid business visa to visit London. British MPs had invited Pillai to talk about people-powered movements with the local communities in Mahan, Madhya Pradesh. A proposed coal mining project led by Essar, a London-based company threatens to uproot the lives and livelihoods of the forest and the community which lives there.
Priya Pillai was scheduled to address British Parliamentarians on the rights of forest communities being infringed for coal mining in India. ‘Has working for the most marginalised people in the country become an offence in India?’ Pillai asked.
She has been informed by the airport authorities that she is now banned from leaving India, even though she has no criminal convictions against her. Her passport has been stamped with the word: OFFLOAD. The immigration officials told her they are not opposed to her travelling, but they are just following orders from the Indian government.
It appears working for grassroots movements in India has been met with unwanted and shocking consequences. This is the second time a Greenpeace employee has been denied a go ahead by the Indian airport authorities in spite of having a valid visa. In September last year, Greenpeace campaigner, Ben Hargreaves – a UK national – was refused entry to India, despite having a valid visa.
Commenting on the latest development, Greenpeace India’s Executive Director, Samit Aich said, ‘The government’s intentions are clear- they are trying to intimidate and bully Greenpeace and its employees but I would only reiterate that such acts only make us more resolute to continue our campaigns on protecting Indian people and India’s environment. We will not shy away from asking tough questions to the highest authorities. Such systematic excesses by the government are a shame and cause of worry for the Indian civil society. At a time when the whole world is making a strong pitch to safeguard freedom of speech and democratic rights, this action by the world’s largest democracy is problematic’.
Greenpeace India has written to the Ministry of Home and External Affairs and to the Airport Authority of India following this arbitrary action of stopping its employees in spite of having the appropriate paper work. Greenpeace is asking the government to explain the legal basis for the ban on Pillai leaving the country.
Last year the Ministry of Home Affairs directed the freezing of Greenpeace India’s foreign funds. Greenpeace India has challenged this in the Delhi High Court and the next hearing is on 20th January.
It is appalling that in the world’s largest democracy, a people powered, independently funded non profit organisation like Greenpeace India has been at the receiving end unwanted actions.” http://www.greenpeace.org/india/en/news/Feature-Stories/Greenpeace-employee-banned-from-leaving-India-on-government-orders-No-official-reason-provided/
(Emphasis our own).
Regarding protecting forest in India from Coal Mining: http://www.greenpeace.org/india/en/news/Feature-Stories/NGT-declares-Forest-Clearance-for-Mahan-Coal-Block-Invalid/
From the Guardian:
“She was to talk about the campaign of a blacklisted organization, which was not seen as appropriate,’ an unnamed intelligence official told the Times of India. ‘A lookout circular was issued against her making it mandatory for immigration authorities to restrain her from boarding the flight to UK.”
From “Greenpeace India campaigner prevented from travelling to the UK Priya Pillai stopped from boarding London flight and is reportedly named in a government circular listing absconding criminals, despite having a valid visa and no criminal record” http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/jan/12/greenpeace-india-campaigner-prevented-from-travelling-to-the-uk
See also: “India court tells government to unblock Greenpeace funds High court tells ministry of home affairs to allow foreign fund transfers to group after crackdown by Modi government“. http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/sep/03/india-court-tells-government-to-unblock-greenpeace-funds
Despite the following speech about “Freedom of Movement”, one can be almost certain that Obama will not utter a peep about India blocking travel – at least not publicly (May we eat crow!). Kerry or Obama might say a private word though:
“Session 15 – Freedom of Movement; Human Rights Education
As prepared for delivery U.S. Head of Delegation J. Brian Atwood | OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting | Warsaw, October 1, 2014
Moderator, twenty-five years ago, the participating States witnessed something remarkable and previously unthinkable. In the summer of 1989, Hungary dismantled the Iron Curtain along its border with Austria, eventually enabling tens of thousands of East Germans to reach the West. Hungary’s actions helped propel an extraordinary transition to democracy.
The right to leave and return to one’s country is enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Unfortunately, some participating States still do not comply with their OSCE commitments in this area and inhibit both external and internal movement.
Denial of exit visas has been used to prevent activists and human rights defenders from traveling
Uzbekistan continues to require its citizens and stateless persons to obtain exit visas to leave the country. In addition, though it does not require exit visas for foreign citizens residing in Uzbekistan, in some cases it unilaterally blocks their departure from the country citing legal reasons. Denial of exit visas has been used to prevent activists and human rights defenders from traveling outside the country.
Tajikistan has banned students from traveling abroad to attend religious school and requires students who wish to study at religious institutions abroad to first obtain state permission. The United States welcomed the news on September 10 that Tajikistani academic Alexander Sodiqov, a PhD student at the University of Toronto, who was arrested in Tajikistan while researching conflict prevention, was finally permitted to return to Canada.
While we welcome Turkmenistan’s decision last year to issue its new biometric passports to dual citizens, we are concerned that the issuance of these passports was suspended in April without explanation. The government denies that it maintains a list of persons not permitted to leave the country, but on April 10, 2014, Turkmenistan border police told Ruslan Tukhbatullin, the brother of human rights activist Farid Tukhbatullin, that he was not allowed to leave the country because he and his nine-year-old son are on a list of people banned from foreign travel. In addition, Turkmenistan also restricts travel by students wishing to study in certain countries.
The director of a Crimean Tatar NGO was dragged from his car by a masked assailant who took his passport
In recent days, five NGO representatives from Russia and Russia-occupied Crimea were prevented from travelling to participate in the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples, which is part of the UN General Assembly. One of the representatives, Nadir Bekr, the director of a Crimean Tatar NGO, was dragged from his car by a masked assailant who took his passport. In some cases targeting “troublesome” travelers, border guards have damaged passports to obstruct travel, and assailants have glued doors shut or slashed tires to obstruct departure for the airport. We condemn these thuggish, systematic efforts to restrict freedom of expression, association, peaceful assembly, and movement.
Azerbaijan continues to prevent some civil society activists from traveling outside the country. Since our last HDIM, authorities prohibited prominent human rights activists Anar Mammadli, Leyla Yunus, and Arif Yunus from attending international conferences. Since 2006 the government has prevented the foreign travel of Popular Front Party chairman Ali Kerimli by refusing to renew his passport.
In June, the Constitutional Court of Macedonia declared some sections of the controversial Law on Travel Documents to be unconstitutional. The court held that articles of the law that permitted certain restrictions on the ability of Macedonian citizens to leave their country were incompatible with the constitutional right to freedom of movement. We welcome the Macedonian Constitutional Court’s ruling on freedom of movement. We note with concern, however, that NGOs continue to document cases where the Ministry of the Interior issued decisions to confiscate passports, in apparent violation of the Court’s ruling. We call on the Macedonian government to fully and transparently implement the ruling to guarantee Macedonian citizens’ right to freedom of movement.
We also call on all participating States to fully uphold their OSCE human dimension commitments and neither interfere with nor harass civil society participants who have participated in and/or attended HDIM or similar events.” http://osce.usmission.gov/mobile//oct_1_14_session15.html (Emphasis our own).
If you don’t know the expression “eating crow” have a look here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eating_crow The Mining Awareness author-editor was around 30 years old before ever hearing of this useful expression.
NOTE 1: Palestinians include Christians – the US is against them; in Yugoslavia, they favored the Muslim side. While the Christians were apparently in the wrong in Yugoslavia, secular Bosniacs complain that all green space in Sarajevo has now been turned into huge Saudi style mosques, which contrast sharply with traditional Bosnian mosques. In Syria the US protected a weird religious group stuck on a mountain, while not lifting a finger to protect Christians. It is patently strange that Obama was so anxious to help the Yazidis, while refusing to lift a finger of help for Christians. Yazidis have a particularly strange sexist story of their origins: “Adam and Eve quarreled about which of them provided the creative element in the begetting of children. Each stored their seed in a jar which was then sealed. When Eve’s was opened it was full of insects and other unpleasant creatures, but inside Adam’s jar was a beautiful boychild. This lovely child, known as son of Jar grew up to marry a houri and became the ancestor of the Yazidis. Therefore, the Yazidis are regarded as descending from Adam alone, while other humans are descendants of both Adam and Eve.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yazidis US policy in the Middle East has done everything possible to promote radical Islam, whether by stupidity or design, it is impossible to say. Right after 911 someone stated in mainstream media that if Osama Bin Laden didn’t exist, the US would have to invent him. The same can be said of Putin and Islamic State. Putin and friends must surely benefit from arms sales. Islamic State is probably funded by the US and European defense industries.
Soon there will be no Christians in the places of origin of Christianity. For whatever reasons, almost no one even cares. Christianity predates Islam in the Middle East and everywhere else, for those who forget. It is a religion of Near-Eastern origin: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christianity_in_the_Middle_East St. Augustine was actually Algerian. Russia and the US follow in the footsteps of Rome in their oppression of Christians. Alleging that the US or Russia are Christian states must surely add salt to the wounds of persecuted Christian minorities. The US appears only concerned with obeying Israel and Saudi Arabia. Even though the US is producing its own oil, they seem to still obey Israel and Saudi Arabia, or perhaps being anti-Christian is now too deeply entrenched among American political and economic elites to ever change. A pious shepherd named Jesus who turned over the tables of the money-changers remains a challenge to greedy elites. For everyone to lay up their treasures in heaven is not good for the mining companies. And, Jesus’ simple life is not so exotic as the Yazidi.