New York, USA: While the 67th General Assembly of the United Nations was in its Thursday session here in New York at the UN headquarters, individuals, protest and advocacy groups turned up to expose the conditions of survival within their countries and implore the United Nations to act. A number of Guyanese were expected to protest or advocate their case against the Guyana government but only one person, who gave her name as Asha, turned up and picketed for a few hours, alternating her several placards.
Among her messages were: “President Ramotar is the Guyana Constitution rights to peaceful protest only for Region6”, “President Ramotar stop using the Guyana Police Force as a killing Machine to slaughter our black youths in Guyana”, “Mr. President why have you refuse to hold Mr. Rohee accountable for his ministerial failures into the shooting death of three innocent men”, “How can you have someone who soliciting sex from a minor sitting on the Rights of Child Commission. Conflict of interest – children are in danger”. Later another person arrived looking for company.
Other loners were: a Palestinian with two placards which itemized “facts”, “truth” and “solutions” pertaining to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; a Paraguayan woman who apparently meant to be sarcastic with her placard which read “I am the First Lady of Paraguay I want $1,500,000 for my summer closet”; and an American, whose siblings were in the wars with Iraq and now in Afghanistan. His placard read: “They lied about Iraq, they’re lying about Iran.”
The African groups from Equatorial Guinea and the Republic of Congo seem to have been handicapped by the language barriers but they brought attention to themselves and placards through traditional African vocals and protest dance.
The group from Equatorial Guinea was the only pro-government group, protesting France’s criminal pursuit of the country’s President and Vice President. In September 2011 the French government seized 15 cars, including a Maserati, Aston Martin and Rolls Royce, belonging to the President’s son and Vice President, Teodorin Nguema Obiang Mangue. Later they also seized his luxury mansion in Avenue Foch, France, worth 100m-150m euros.
In October 2011, the US government went after him to recover assets greater than $70m. Earlier this year, he paid the national football team $1m for winning the opening game of the African Cup of Nations. In July this year, the French government issued an arrest warrant for him on money laundering charges, while French judges are investigating him and his father, President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo for embezzlement of Guinea’s resources which they invested in France. Guinea’s government applied to the International Court of Justice to stop France from investigating the ruling family and the protest group is arguing that the matters are for ‘Guinea’s jurisdiction not France’s. Equatorial Guinea is one of Africa largest oil exporters and most of its 720,000 people are impoverished.
On the other hand the Congolese, with graphic photo evidence, pointed out that the civil war and conflicts in the Congo have cost 8,000,000 lives, unspeakable brutalities, and 48 raped women every hour. They charged that Rwanda must be sanctioned by the international community for its role.
The Jumna People, who are the indigenous people of Bangladesh with their own Chakma language and identity, but 0.7 of the population, have grievances similar to the Tibetans. They are located mainly in the hills but claim that since Bangladesh obtained independence in 1971, they lost their freedom, have no constitutional rights and not recognized. Instead, the government is violent towards them, pursuing a policy of ethnic cleansing, islamization and militarization. They exhibited graphic images of persons killed a few days ago by the army and are demanding that the peace agreement signed between their party, the PCJSS and the government in 1997 be implemented, and that they be constitutionally recognized as an indigenous people.
The most active and passionate group was the Tibetans, who like the Congolese, and the Jumna People of Bangladesh displayed graphic images of bodies mutilated by the armed forces, and of those whose self-immolation were acts of resistance to the state. They continuously chanted anti-China messages for hours, including “We are humans too”, “China lies Tibetans die”, “Five-Nations Security Council Must Act Honestly and Fairly”, and “United nations Speak for Tibetans”. They said that since their occupation by China in 1959, 1.2 million people of their 9million population were killed by the Chinese state, and from 2009 52 Tibetans committed self-immolation in resistance. They want resumption of their independence.
The other impacting anti-China group was the Falun Gong practitioners, who like others, distributed newspapers, fliers, etc. on their plight in China. They put up a large banner which stated that: “Falun Gong practitioners killed in CCP concentration camp for their organs and cremated to hide evidence.” They explained that their persecution began on July20, 1999, when former President Jiang Zemin realized that their 100 million membership and practitioners were larger than the communist party which is about 60 million. Even though there is no evidence that they were ever political or subversive, but an organization which promotes morality, meditation, and healthy life styles, they are continuously arrested, isolated, forced to give up their beliefs and killed in concentration camps to harvest their organs for the local and international markets. This happens mainly in the Liao Ning Province. According to the Volunteer Coordinator Jianten Zhou, the organization which started in 1993, spread to 100 countries, and practiced in 30 languages, is the target for organ harvesting because of the healthy life styles. She added, the state media is used to malign the organization while state operatives who forced prostitutes into self-immolation for example, pinned that to the organization to label it destructive. Another member, Chun Xia.Ma, is worried about her older sister Chun Ling.Ma who was kidnapped in the streets about a month ago by the “so-called police”. No family member has heard nor seen her since. According to the organization, when members are arrested or kidnapped medical tests on blood etc. are done to determine their fitness for clients. At the moment members are on a signature campaign in New York.
By Lin-Jay Harry-Voglezon of the American International News Service