freedom of speech

23 petitions

Update posted 4 weeks ago

Petition to Antonio Guterres (United Nations Secretary General), United Nations, Patricia Scotland QC, Commonwealth Office Geneva, Commonwealth United Nations, Theresa May MP, President of the United States, Emmanuel Macron, UK Parliament

STOP The Human Rights Abuses: Ask The CommonWealth & UN to Suspend Cameroon's Membership

Please join us in asking that: Cameroon is suspended from the Commonwealth and that the United Nations should impose Sanctions on the government of Cameroon, until they call for meaningful dialogue to address the root causes of the Anglophone crisis. The United Nations and the Commonwealth joins in asking for the Unconditional release of all detained activists. The United Nations & the Commonwealth uses its influence to ask President Paul Biya to personally address the ongoing crisis in English-Speaking Cameroon.  The United Nations & the Commonwealth joins us in demanding that an independent inquiry is carried out into the systematic abuse of human rights that have occurred since the beginning of this current crisis and the perpetrators brought to justice.  The Cameroon government stops the militarisation of the English-Speaking regions and stop the arbitrary arrests The Internet is immediately restored within the English-Speaking Regions of Cameroon --------------------------------------------It should be noted that:·         The Internet was shut down in the English-Speaking Regions of Cameroon from January 17, 2017 and the shutdown lasted 93 days. This is how the government of Cameroon has flagrantly misused its powers and infringed on human rights. In the weekend of 1st October, 2017, the government of Cameroon reneged on its public promise statement and again cut internet access from this region of the country ·         Since October 2016, there has been no schools and the courts have not been operating in the English-Speaking Regions. Instead of resolving the problems, the government unleashed a reign of terror, arbitrarily arresting lawyers, teachers and members of the Anglophone community and taking them to a maximum political prison over 300 miles away from their homes. ·         Those arrested stand trial for treason and were to face the death penalty. After over 7 months in prison, some were released while others are still being held in prison and many more unaccounted for.  --------------------------------------------- Mindful of the fact that in 1995, with the approval of all other member countries, Cameroon joined the Commonwealth and subscribed to the Charter of the Commonwealth; Mindful of the fact that the Commonwealth Charter promises to uphold and promote the values and aspirations of democracy, human rights and the rule of law; Mindful of the fact that the same Charter expresses the commitment of its member states to the development of free and democratic societies and the promotion of peace and prosperity to improve the lives of all peoples of the Commonwealth; Mindful of the fact that the same Charter also acknowledges the role of civil society in supporting the goals and values of the Commonwealth; Also, mindful of the fact that the Commonwealth Secretariat aims to promote democracy, rule of law, human rights, good governance and social and economic development, by being the voice for small states and a champion for youth empowerment; Further mindful of the fact that on the 11 November 1995 the Commonwealth Heads of Government suspended Nigeria from membership of the Commonwealth for contravening the principles of the Harare Commonwealth Declaration ------------------------------------------------------- We Recall: v  That in 1916, the upon defeating the Germans, the British and French arbitrary divided the country into two zones – The Northern and Southern Cameroons (administered by the British) and La Republique Du Cameroun (under French control); v  That in the 1950s when the Union of the Peoples of Cameroon (UPC) led by Ruben Um Nyobe demanded that French and British Cameroons be united into one independent country, the party was banned and many thousands, including Um Nyobe, were killed. v  That the Republic gained independence on January 1, 1960, and following a UN plebiscite in 1961. Northern Cameroons chose to unite with Nigeria while Southern Cameroons in October 1961, joined the Republic and the country became THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF CAMEROON, with each section maintaining their parliaments and named West Cameroon and East Cameroon respectively. v  That in 1972, in what many West Cameroonians today consider a move towards annexation, President Ahmadou Ahidjo oversaw the dissolution of the Federation and made it THE UNITED REPUBLIC OF CAMEROON. v  That without any referendum or public vote, President Paul Biya in 1984, started the process for the complete extinction of West Cameroon by changing the name of the country back to THE REPUBLIC OF CAMEROON – the name held by the French region before the union in 1961. ----------------------------------------------- We further recall that: ·         This heightened the consistent marginalization of English-Speaking Cameroonians. The English language which was to be an official language with equal status as French was gradually relegated to the background. This is evident in the fact that President Paul Biya who has been President for 35 years has never bothered to learn English. ·         Official documents are mostly in French and that for 35 years, the President has only been to the English-speaking Regions a handful of times. We bring your attention to the fact: Ø  That when the government ignored resolutions made at the inaugural All-Cameroon common law lawyers’ conference held in Bamenda on 9 May, 2015 denouncing among other things, the “bias nature of law making in Cameroon” and particularly condemning the past discriminatory amendments of the Constitution, the lawyers subsequently decided to go on strike and peacefully demonstrate to call the government to action. Ø  That security forces attacked the lawyers with teargas and many were injured, while the gowns and wigs of some were confiscated. Ø  That teachers and other members of civil society subsequently joined the strikes and demonstrations across Bamenda and Buea, all denouncing what is now commonly known as the ‘Anglophone Problem’. Ø  That there has been the brutal crackdown on peaceful protests by the security forces and there are several allegations of torture and rape (including the rape of a 17-year-old student) by the security forces. Ø  That many students from the University of Buea who joined the protests chanting ‘no to violence’ were brutally beaten and many arrested and detained. Ø  That on 6 December 2016, the Cameroon Anglophone Civil Society Consortium declared that the strike actions continue and demanded a return to a TWO-STATE FEDERATION as the best guarantee of the protection, promotion, and preservation of minority rights, especially the rights of English-Speaking Cameroonians (See attached). In the light of the above, we submit that the Cameroon government has failed to: §  Uphold the Rule of law by ordering security forces to beat, harass and confiscate the property of lawyers. §  Respect the basic human rights of its citizens. That the basic human rights of Cameroonians have been consistently violated by the Biya government with arbitrary suppression of personal freedoms, brutalization, and rape of civilians. §  Uphold the principles of good governance: That the principle of good governance and social and economic development in Cameroon is almost non-existent. This is evident in the fact that for the last 34 years there has been a consistent and drastic increase in youth unemployment. [1] §  Promote the principles of democracy as the ‘democracy’ under Paul Biya is one in which one man who calls himself the “President” rules the nation as a personal estate, makes mockery of the constitution, controls the nation’s coffers and dishes out money as if it were his personal account, and spends most of his time abroad. §  Protect the lives of Cameroonians given that after 34 years in power, poverty is ravaging Cameroon, many people have died of curable diseases simply because they could not afford to pay hospital bills.[2] Based on these violations of the principles of the charter of the Commonwealth, we ask that: 4.    Cameroon is suspended from the Commonwealth until the government calls for dialogue and start listening to the demands of the Civil Society. 5.    The Commonwealth uses its influence to ask President Paul Biya to personally address the ongoing crisis in Cameroon. 6.    The Commonwealth joins us in demanding that an independent inquiry is carried out into the systematic abuse of human rights that have occurred since the beginning of this current crisis and the perpetrators brought to justice. Trusting that the Commonwealth is going to live by its creed, we thereby plead with you to sign this petition. [1] In most parts of the country, especially in the North West and South West Regions, corporations (U.N.V.D.A., PAFSAT, WADA, MIDEVIV, MIDENO, Marketing Boards, Cooperative societies, just to name a few) have either folded up or are shadows of what they used to be. Only the carcasses of these institutions remind one of their existences-once upon a time.[2] We recall that in early March 2016 Monique Koumate, a 31-year-old pregnant woman with twins and about to give birth died along with her two babies at the doors of the Laquintinie Hospital, sparking outrage throughout Cameroon and abroad. This is the reality of the majority of Cameroonians. We also recall that on 21 October 2016, while Paul Biya, as usual, was on an extended stay abroad, Cameroon experienced one of its worst transportation disasters, as a direct consequence of poorly maintained roads and railway links. Hundreds of people were killed and an equally large number injured.

West Cameroon Movement for Change
9,531 supporters
Started 1 month ago

Petition to NUI Galway Literary and Debating Society

NUI Galway Literary and Debating Society: Stop Censoring Free Speech

“We, the undersigned, condemn the recent decision taken by the Literary and Debating Society of NUI Galway to restrict free speech in the debating chamber. We call on the committee of the Literary and Debating Society to rescind this restriction and uphold the democratic right of all students to freedom of speech without censorship.” This semester (September 2017) at NUI Galway, the Literary and Debating Society, the university's oldest and most prestigious student organisation, introduced restrictions on free speech for the first time. It is now official policy that, during a debate, if you say anything that might be seen as offensive to anyone inside the room or outside, you will be shut down, and possibly asked to leave. Exact statement from Auditor Mark Graydon at the Literary and Debating Society's first debate of the academic year, Sept 14th 2017: "If you proceed to attack others or say anything that might be construed as offensive to someone within the chamber or without, then I will give you one warning, before asking you that, if you continue that behaviour, that you will be asked to leave the chamber" This is an assault on free speech, coming from an institution which supposedly exists to defend free speech. It sets a dangerous precedent of intolerance, and it must be opposed. My name is Josiah Burke. I am a final year commerce student at NUI Galway specialising in economics. I have set up this petition to put pressure on the Society to rescind this policy, respect the democratic freedoms of all students, and stop censoring Free Speech. Tyranny never appears overnight – instead it gradually chips away at our freedoms, and too often we don’t notice until it’s too late. If you place any value on the freedoms of democracy that you enjoy, I’m asking you to sign this petition. - Josiah Burke

Josiah Burke
115 supporters
Started 1 month ago

Petition to Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Thailand

Officially drop the lese majeste charges against Sulak Sivaraksa

Professor Sulak Sivaraksa, 84, a Thai intellectual, social critic and author, faces up to 15 years in prison for offending the monarchy after questioning whether an elephant-back duel, fought more than 400 years ago by a Thai king against a Burmese adversary, ever took place. Article 112 of Thailand’s Criminal Code, often known as the  “lèse majesté law,” provides for imprisonment of 3 to 15 years per count of insult, defamation or threat to the king, queen, heir-apparent or regent. To date, the law has been interpreted to only apply to the present-day individuals in those positions. If the prosecution of Professor Sulak Sivaraksa goes forward,and the charges against him are not dropped by December 7, Professor Sulak may go to jail, and a dangerous precedent would be set for Thailand's draconian and highly controversial "lese majeste" laws to extend not only to the present monarch and his family, but to all other kings in the history of the country.  Links:   Professor Sulak Sivaraksa, 84, ein thailändischer Intellektueller, Sozialkritiker und Autor, drohen bis zu 15 Jahren Haft, weil er angeblich die Monarchie beleidigt hat, nachdem er hinterfragte, ob ein legendäres Elefanten-Duell vor mehr als 400 Jahren – zwischen einem thailändischen König und einem birmanischen Widersacher – tatsächlich stattgefunden hat.   Artikel 112 des thailändischen Strafgesetzbuchs, auch als „Majestätsbeleidigungs“- oder Lese Majesté-Gesetz bekannt, sieht eine Freiheitsstrafe von 3 bis 15 Jahren pro Beleidigung, Verleumdung oder Androhung des Königs, der Königin, des Thronfolgers oder des Regenten vor. Bis dato wurde das Gesetz so ausgelegt, dass es nur für die heutigen Personen in diesen Positionen gilt. Wenn die Anklage gegen Professor Sulak Sivaraksa weitergeführt und die Anklagen gegen ihn bis zum 7. Dezember nicht fallengelassen werden, könnte Professor Sulak ins Gefängnis gehen und ein gefährlicher Präzedenzfall geschaffen werden, indem Thailands drakonisches und höchst umstrittenes „Lese-Majesté“-Gesetz nicht nur für den gegenwärtigen Monarchen und seine Familie gilt, sondern auf alle anderen Könige in der Geschichte des Landes anwendbar ist.   Weiterführende Links:  

Pat Nehls
1,350 supporters