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Baltimore tribunal says decent housing a human right

first_imgBaltimore — In response to the deplorable and inhuman conditions of this city’s housing projects, several groups came together on April 2 for the first-ever citywide Tribunal on Housing.The Baltimore People’s Power Assembly, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and the Ujima People’s Progress Party sponsored the event at the St. Vincent DePaul Church in the heart of downtown Baltimore. For months, the People’s Power Assembly had interviewed and gathered information, photos and petitions from residents who have been lodging complaints against the Baltimore City Housing Authority and its commissioner, Paul Graziano. They gathered data at McCullough Homes, Poe Homes, Latrobe Homes, Douglas Homes, Perkins Homes and, last but not least, Gilmore Homes, where the arrest and killing of Freddy Grey in police custody had set off widespread protests.The trigger that led the PPA to mobilize in the communities was when a city employee, Lucky Crosby, who monitored homes needing repairs, heard a number of complaints from residents who had been threatened or coerced into having sex in return for repairs. When Crosby reported these documented incidents, he was terminated by the Baltimore Housing Commission. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Union Local 647 is in litigation defending Crosby, who is an executive board member of the union, over punishment he received for whistleblowing on these events. Housing Commissioner Graziano had known for some time that this extortion for repairs was going on. The PPA issued him a summons to appear before the tribunal. Sharon Black told reporters on March 29 that the summons was delivered to Graziano’s office and date-stamped by the BHC Legal Department. “We will see if he abides by the summons,” Black said. “Graziano can’t say he doesn’t know — as he did during the ‘sex for repairs’ scandal. All he has to do is attend and hear from the residents themselves and see the documentation that our residents have collected. Public housing is slum housing and is a violation of the United Nations charter on human rights.”  The PPA presented photos for the judge and jurors to examine as well as testimony from residents of different housing projects. Graziano was found guilty by the tribunal for the following housing code violations: no heat; mold; pest infestations, including mice, roaches and bedbugs; broken windows and doors; unhealthy water; broken plumbing; overcrowding; broken appliances; holes in ceilings and walls; broken railings; and lack of timely repairs, despite repeated requests by the residents. The judges were Lenora Knowles of the People’s Power Assembly, Ariane McBride of the People’s Power Assembly and Nnamdi Lumumba of the Ujima People’s Progress Party. The broadness of the tribunal was reflected in the jurors: Leo Burroughs, Committee of Concerned Citizens; the Rev. Annie Chambers, Big Mamma’s House; President Anthony Coates, AFSCME Local 647; ShaiVaughn Crawley, youth activist; Lucky Crosby, fired housing worker; attorney Carl Gentile, Union Labor Activists; Colleen Gillian, Fight Imperialism, Stand Together (FIST) youth group; President Kenneth Gwee, Christian Leadership for Economic Development; Courtney Jenkins, Postal Workers Local 181; President Lorraine Ledbetter, Poe Tenants Association; Kira Lynae, Baltimore Workers World Party; Amy Millar, Food and Commercial Workers union Local 1884; Gary Nelson, city firefighter; Leon Purnell, board member SCLC, Men’s and Families Center, Eastside; Torianne Tots, student at Maryland Institute College of Art; and Floyd Vines, J. Van Story Branch Senior Housing.Many individuals and residents testified. President Anthony Coates of AFSCME Local 647 said these problems have been ignored for 13 years.  A housing project activist said the ultimate goal of the city is to privatize housing, pointing out that $600 million of Baltimore city taxpayers’ money went to Harbor East for business development, while the city has 30,000 vacant and boarded-up homes.PPA activist Steven Ceci played a tape recording of a McCullough Homes manager threatening residents who go to the tribunal with eviction. Commissioner Graziano was also present at that confrontation to back up the manager’s threat. Floyd Vines, an electrician for city maintenance workers at the J. Van Story Branch of Senior Housing, said that “corruption is so deep in public housing that it is unfathomable.”President Lorraine Ledbetter of the Poe Homes Tenants Association testified that every time money was invested in the University of Maryland, adjacent to Poe Homes, both the city and the university promised they would also invest monies to rehabilitate Poe Homes. In 15 years, over $1 billion was loaned or invested in the UMB, yet Poe Homes still had a deficit. Ledbetter questioned why so much money went to wealthy white men for business development and not to provide housing and jobs for people living in the housing projects.People’s Judge Ariane McBride, herself a transitional housing resident, testified about transitional housing: “It is where the residents, mostly women and children, are waiting to move into established housing projects. However, the complex also is in need of repairs and is severely mismanaged.” Inspectors and managers make “surprise visits” and then blame residents for the disrepair, including broken lights and appliances. Most of the young residents with children are too scared to speak out, and so far six to seven families have lost their transitional housing status, meaning they are evicted and cannot apply for public housing for three years.One of the jurors said: “We cannot be color blind. This is a city that is almost 70 percent Black. This is a trend happening in all the large metropolitan areas of the U.S.: move Black people out of the city and give them Section 8 housing in the suburbs, then attract white yuppies into gentrified areas of the city, where they can spend their dollars and enhance the growth of the city, similar to the situation in D.C., where wealthy white folks are becoming the majority of residents.”The tribunal concluded with a number of action proposals: a fact-finding commission to continue the work with a follow-up meeting in May; a protest and caravan to Graziano’s residence; a campaign to demand jobs for housing project residents, especially the youth; that union apprentice training be given to carry out repairs and that the workers be paid $15 an hour; a campaign to stop gentrification; getting a city statute for greater whistleblower protection; and demanding a meeting with the Housing and Urban Development official at the national level.  All the judges and jurors noted this will be a protracted struggle and not a “one-shot deal.”FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img

WORLD PRESS FREEDOM DAY

first_imgAbdulkadir Hussein MohamedAlso know as “Jahweyn,” this Somali politician is no longer minister of information and telecommunications. His successor does not seem to be directly responsible for harassment, intimidation or other abuses against media personnel. Journalism nonetheless continues to be very dangerous in Somalia, with a total of 18 journalists killed in 2012. Jabhat Al-Nosra’s entry into the predators list reflects the evolution in the Syrian conflict and the fact that abuses are no longer attributable solely to the regime, represented on the list by Bashar al-Assad, but also to opposition armed groups, which are proving to be more and more intolerant and suspicious towards the media. At least 23 journalists and 58 citizen-journalists have been killed in Syria since 15 March 2011 and seven journalists are currently missing. To draw attention to their abuses, Reporters Without Borders has drafted indictments against some of these predators in the hope that they will one day be brought before competent courts. To better highlight the gulf between propaganda and reality, the statements of some of them have been contrasted with the facts. And to show how some predators really think, we have presented their innermost thoughts in the first person. We had to use a little imagination, of course, but the facts alluded to conform to reality. Physical attacks on journalists and murders of journalists usually go completely unpunished. This encourages the predators to continue their violations of human rights and freedom of information. The 34 predators who were already on the 2012 list continue to trample on freedom of information with complete disdain and to general indifference. Hamas and Palestinian Authority security forcesThe security forces of the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and those of the Hamas government in the Gaza Strip have been dropped from this year’s list of predators because the number of their press freedom violations has fallen considerably in the past four years. The situation of freedom of information in the West Bank and Gaza Strip is nonetheless still the subject of concern. The Hamas government recent banned local journalists from working for Israeli media, and many journalists are prosecuted for insulting President Mahmoud Abbas. Read in Arabic – (بالعربية) Read in Russian / Читать по-русски Read in Turkish / TürkçeRead in German / DeutschOn World Press Freedom Day, Reporters Without Borders is releasing an updated list of 39 Predators of Freedom of Information ­– presidents, politicians, religious leaders, militias and criminal organizations that censor, imprison, kidnap, torture and kill journalists and other news providers. Powerful, dangerous and violent, these predators consider themselves above the law. The creation of a mechanism for monitoring adherence to Resolution 1738, which Reporters Without Borders has proposed, would encourage member states to adopt specific provisions for penalizing murders, physical attacks and disappearances that target journalists, would extend Statesʼ obligations to non-professional “news providers” and would reinforce their efforts to combat impunity for such crimes. Why are predators never brought to justice? 39 leaders, groups named as Predators of Freedom of Information in 2013 New names in the list of predators A predator goes and is replaced by another. It is no surprise that Xi Jinping has taken former Chinese President Hu Jintao’s place as predator. The change of person has not in any way affected the repressive system developed by China’s Communist Party. Nonetheless, states often fail to do what they are supposed to do, either because they lack the political will to punish abuses of this kind, or because their judicial system is weak or non-existent, or because it is the authorities themselves who are responsible for the abuses. The leaders of dictatorships and closed countries enjoy a peaceful existence while media and news providers are silenced or eliminated. Such leaders include Kim Jong-un in North Korea, Issaias Afeworki in Eritrea and Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov in Turkmenistan. In these countries, as in Belarus, Vietnam, Uzbekistan and other Central Asian countries, the international community’s silence is not just shameful, it is complicit. Dropped from the predators list News May 3, 2013 – Updated on January 25, 2016 WORLD PRESS FREEDOM DAY Organisation Criminal organizations and paramilitary groups that are often linked to drug trafficking – Mexico’s Zetas, Colombia’s Urabeños and the Italian Mafia – continue to target journalists and media they regard as too curious, independent or hostile. In Mexico, a country that is especially deadly for media personnel, 87 journalists have been killed and 17 have disappeared since 2000. Justice has not been properly rendered in any of these cases. Iran’s two predators – President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei – have already taken steps to deter the media from providing independent coverage of next June’s presidential election. The waves of arrests of journalists that began on 27 January, “Black Sunday,” are clear evidence of this.center_img Ever since the army mutiny that overthrew President Mohamed Nasheed in the Maldives in 2012, extremist religious groups have tried to use their nuisance power to extend their influence. They have become more aggressive as the July 2013 presidential election approaches, intimidating news media and bloggers and using freedom of expression to impose a religious agenda while denying this freedom to others. ETAThe organization ETA has been dropped from the 2013 list. It announced the “definitive end to armed actions” in 2011 and has carried out no attacks on journalists or news media since then. Reporters Without Borders has of course not forgotten all the journalists who were physically attacked or killed by ETA and continues to demand justice for those crimes of violence. Reporters Without Borders will also continue to be on the lookout for any future threat to media freedom by ETA. RSF_en In Pakistan, Baloch armed groups, including the Balochistan Liberation Army, Baloch Liberation Front and Baloch Musallah Defa Army, have turned the southwestern province of Balochistan into one of the world’s most dangerous regions for journalists. Consisting of armed separatist groups and opposing militias created to defend the central Pakistani government, they have spread terror in the media and created information “black holes.” Pakistan’s intelligence agencies are also on the predators list because of their abuses against the media. Furthermore, the Rome Statute provides for no specific charge for deliberate physical attacks on journalists. Article 8 of the statute needs to be amended so that a deliberate attack on media professionals is regarded as a war crime.(For further information, read RWB’s note) Unacceptable impunity for predators Burmese President Thein SeinInstalled as president in March 2011, Thein Sein no longer qualifies as a predator of freedom of information. Under his presidency, the military junta has disbanded and all jailed journalists and bloggers, including Democratic Voice of Burma’s 17 video-journalists, have been freed. In 2012, prior censorship was abolished and many exile media began operating openly inside the country. The first privately-owned daily newspapers appeared in early 2013. At the international level, the legal protection of journalists is also guaranteed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Geneva Conventions and other instruments. The United Nations recently published an Action Plan on the safety of journalists and measures to combat impunity for crimes of violence against them. “These predators of freedom of information are responsible for the worst abuses against the news media and journalists,” Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Christophe Deloire said. “They are becoming more and more effective. In 2012, the level of violence against news providers was unprecedented and a record number of journalists were killed. World Press Freedom Day, which was established on the initiative of Reporters Without Borders, must be used to pay tribute to all journalists, professional and amateur, who have paid for their commitment with their lives, their physical integrity or their freedom, and to denounce the impunity enjoyed by these predators.” The persistently high level of impunity is not due to a legal void. There are laws and instruments that protect journalists in connection with their work. Above all, it is up to individual states to protect journalists and other media personnel. This was stressed in Resolution 1738 on the safety of journalists, which the United Nations security council adopted in 2006. The International Criminal Court’s creation has unfortunately not helped advance the fight against impunity for those responsible for the most serious crimes of violence against journalists, although journalists play a fundamental role in providing information and issuing alerts during domestic and international armed conflicts. The ICC only has jurisdiction when the crime takes place on the territory of a state that is a party to the Rome Statute (which created the ICC) or if the accused person is a citizen of a state party. Reporters Without Borders urges the international community not to hide behind economic and geopolitical interests. Thanks to their rich natural resources, Azerbaijan’s Ilham Aliyev and Kazakhstan’s Nursultan Nazarbayev are confident that no one will rap their knuckles. Economic interests come before everything else, as they do with China. It is the same with countries that the West regards as “strategic.” Since Vladimir Putin’s return to the presidency in Russia, the authorities have tightened their grip even further in response to unprecedented opposition protests. The country remains marked by a completely unacceptable level impunity for those responsible for violence against journalists. A total of 29 have been murdered since 2000, including Anna Politkovskaya. Five new predators have been added to the list: the new Chinese president, Xi Jinping, the Jihadi group Jabhat Al-Nosra from Syria, members and supporters of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, Pakistan’s Baloch armed groups, and Maldives’ religious extremists. Four predators have been dropped from the list: former Somali information and communications minister Abdulkadir Hussein Mohamed, Burmese President Thein Sein, whose country is experiencing unprecedented reforms despite the current ethnic violence, the ETA group, and the Hamas and Palestinian Authority security forces, which are harassing journalists less. The list of predators has been impacted by the repercussions from the Arab Spring and uprisings in the Arab world. Members and supporters of Egyptian President Morsi’s party, the Muslim Brotherhood, have been responsible for harassing and physically attacking independent media and journalists critical of the party. Related documents Bringing predators of freedom of information to justicePDF – 172.9 KBВСЕМИРНЫЙ ДЕНЬ СВОБОДЫ ПРЕССЫPDF – 281.87 KBRSF: “Basına karşı suçlar” Ceza Kanunlarına girmeliPDF – 205.27 KBpredators_2013_en.pdfPDF – 1.82 MBnote_comite_juridique_v1_gb.pdfPDF – 172.9 KB Help by sharing this informationlast_img

Controversy Around UP Education Service Tribunal Bifurcation: Allahabad High Court And District Bar Associations To Abstain From Work Today

first_imgNews UpdatesControversy Around UP Education Service Tribunal Bifurcation: Allahabad High Court And District Bar Associations To Abstain From Work Today Sparsh Upadhyay23 Feb 2021 10:19 PMShare This – xThe High Court Bar Association, Allahabad & Awadh Bar Association (High Court, Lucknow) have resolved to abstain from Judicial Work today i.e., on 24th February 2021 to express their displeasure over the passing of Uttar Pradesh Educational Services Tribunal Bill, 2021 which proposes to constitute two benches of the Tribunal in Lucknow and Allahabad (now known…Your free access to Live Law has expiredTo read the article, get a premium account.Your Subscription Supports Independent JournalismSubscription starts from ₹ 599+GST (For 6 Months)View PlansPremium account gives you:Unlimited access to Live Law Archives, Weekly/Monthly Digest, Exclusive Notifications, Comments.Reading experience of Ad Free Version, Petition Copies, Judgement/Order Copies.Subscribe NowAlready a subscriber?LoginThe High Court Bar Association, Allahabad & Awadh Bar Association (High Court, Lucknow) have resolved to abstain from Judicial Work today i.e., on 24th February 2021 to express their displeasure over the passing of Uttar Pradesh Educational Services Tribunal Bill, 2021 which proposes to constitute two benches of the Tribunal in Lucknow and Allahabad (now known as Prayagraj). Significantly, both the associations have cited different reasons for opposing the Bill. While HCBA, Allahabad is opposing the Bill as the Bill proposes to establish Tribunal’s Principal Bench in Lucknow, on the other hand, the Awadh Bar Association is miffed over the bifurcation of the Tribunal at two places. The stand of the HCBA, Allahabad The HCBA, Allahabad, in its resolution dated 23rd February, states that the establishment of Principal Bench of Tribunal at Lucknow is against the guidelines issued by the Supreme Court and that the advocates practicing at Allahabad High Court are unhappy with the decision. The resolution also states that accepting the demands of the Advocates of Allahabad, the Deputy CM of Uttar Pradesh Dinesh Sharma had assured them publicly that the Principal Bench of the tribunal would be established at Allahabad/Prayagraj, still, the Government went ahead with the Bill which is against the well-settled principles propounded by the Supreme Court. In this backdrop, the Association has also expressed its displeasure over the way in which the UP Budget of 2021-22 was brought about by the State Government. Speaking to Live Law, a member of HCBA said that the Principal Bench of the Tribunal should be established in Allahabad, and another bench could be established in Lucknow. He further told us that the 2021 Bill proposes to establish a principal Bench of the Tribunal at Lucknow, the Capital city of Uttar Pradesh which is unacceptable to the Association. The stand of the Awadh Bar Association (High Court, Lucknow) The Awadh Bar Association (High Court, Lucknow), in its resolution dated 23rd February, states that the step to bifurcate the Education Tribunal at two places has generated anger and resentment amongst the general public as well as amongst the members of the Bar. Association’s Governing Council has also decided that it will abstain from Judicial work on 24th February 2021 and stage a peaceful demonstration near the High Court. The Awadh Bar Association has also expressed its displeasure over the fact that no decision has been taken by the State Government to establish GST Tribunal as well as Company Law Tribunal in Lucknow. It may be noted that a similar bill was introduced in the year 2019, however, facing stiff opposition from the Lawyers, the Government decided to take back the said Bill from the Government of India (as it was pending before the President of India) and incorporate certain amendments desired in it and introduce a new Bill in place thereof — The Uttar Pradesh Education Services Tribunal Bill 2021.Next Storylast_img

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