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December 2009 (17)
Dec 24 2009 10:43AM
2009: horribilis or mirabilis?

Everyone loves a list. Shortlist and Stylist mazagine’s popularity are testimony to the success of the format. All the media are chock-a-block with end-of-year lists. And … well, not wanting to be left out, here’s my own end-of-year...

Dec 23 2009 1:23PM
A grim advent for Akmal Shaikhs family

With only six days to go until his scheduled execution on 29 December, it’s a grim advent calendar counting down the days for the family of Akmal Shaikh, a British man on ‘death row’ in China. You can see an interview with his brother...

Dec 22 2009 3:48PM
Ron Prosors belly-dancing rhetoric on the Gaza blockade

I’ve blogged before about how the Israeli ambassador to the UK Ron Prosor seems to like to slip in oddball references to things like The Muppets and foreign owners of English football clubs when he’s talking about the Middle East peace...

Dec 21 2009 4:41PM
The Price of Human Rights - Cambodia ignores refugee convention and sends Uighur asylum seekers to uncertain fate in China

Cambodia today deported 22 Uighurs who had fled China to escape persecution, returning them, at Beijing’s behest, to an uncertain fate. It’s a sickening development. Despite the notoriety of the Chinese authorities when it comes to...

Dec 18 2009 2:33PM
Too late for Tulay

The murder of Tulay Goren by her own father would be shocking wherever it happened, and Amnestys work on Turkey, Iraq and several other countries clearly shows that honour killings are a deadly threat to women and girls in numerous...

Dec 17 2009 12:34PM
Get me out of here, Im a Saharan activist

Listening on the radio this morning to a Scottish man stranded in Lanzarote airport in the Canary Islands because of Flyglobespan’s collapse, I thought … this sounds familiar. Not just because the holiday-company-collapses-leaving...

Dec 16 2009 4:49PM
An end in sight to UK company abuses overseas?

You could be forgiven for missing news today on a report from Parliament’s prestigious Joint Committee on Human Rights on the impact of British business on human rights overseas. It is covered in the Financial Times, and there was a...

Dec 15 2009 5:14PM
Exposing the truth in Sri Lanka

There was an excellent expose in The Times newspaper today. An investigation by the paper rubbished claims by the Sri Lankan government that a video of a Tamil Tiger fighter being executed during the recent conflict was fabricated. The...

Dec 14 2009 12:22PM
Was Tony Blair making an ass of himself in Azerbaijan?

As regular readers of this blog may know, I always weigh my words carefully. But today I’m weighing them with still greater care. Why? Well, I’m just wondering what it must be like to bash out 1,000 words and get paid a cool £90,000...

Dec 11 2009 1:47PM
Portishead: I just wanna be a music critic

When I first heard a ghost-voiced Beth Gibbons from Portishead croaking “Give me a reason to love you / Give me a reason to be, a woman / I just wanna be a woman” on their debut album, I was …. impressed. Mid-90s hype around Britpop...

Dec 10 2009 10:34AM
Have you heard the one about Iran?

One of the stories the Anglo-Iranian comic Shappi Khorsandi tells is how Iran once sent hit men all the way to west London to murder her father, the poet Hadi Khorsandi. Thankfully they were bunglers and 25 years later Shappi plays it...

Dec 9 2009 5:34PM
Tube, Trains and Tasers

So now it’s the turn of British Transport Police to be given Tasers. Deploying electro-shock stun guns to the BTP’s response units is the latest move in the ever-increasing roll-out across British police, and has added to Amnesty’s...

Dec 8 2009 1:57PM
No more cocktails, just give it to me straight: death in Ohio

Such is the perverted ingenuity of the human race, that yes, we’re great at finding more and more ways of killing each other. Take the case of Kenneth Biros, a man convicted of murder in the US state of Ohio. Because of an horrendously...

Dec 7 2009 12:37PM
The difference one card can make

I can hardly believe that today is 7 December which means that there are now only 16 Christmas shopping days left. That's slightly concerning for me as so far I have bought neither cards nor a single present! When I do eventually get...

Dec 4 2009 5:21PM

What’s the worst thing that can happen to a poor but self-sufficient community of indigenous people? The discovery, by others, that the land you’re living on is rich in mineral deposits – and therefore you are in the way. Amnesty has...

Dec 3 2009 3:41PM
Shameless - 25 years and still no justice for the people of Bhopal

It could never, never, never happen here in Britain. No company would ever be allowed to operate in as negligent a way as Union Carbide did in Bhopal, India. And if there were ever a chemical disaster of a comparable scale here –...

Dec 2 2009 1:30PM
Policing rape

Given the prevalence of the crime of rape and the disastrously low conviction rape (only about 6.5% of reported rapes currently lead to a rapist getting jailed), the creation of a special unit within the Metropolitan Police to...