Oppositionspartiet ARENAs ungdomsförbund håller presskonferens om censuren

Press conference at the youth organization of the opposition party ARENA on the censorship

El Salvador’s election commission has decided to censor a campaign video from the opposition party ARENA’s youth organization prior to the presidential election on March 9, between Vice President Salvador Sanchez Ceren, from the leftist FMLN and his opponent Norman Quijano, Mayor of San Salvador. (more…)

As internet penetration increases around the globe, the world’s autocrats deal with different ways to control the web. Meanwhile, a couple of them contradict their own restrictive policies by using Twitter and Facebook to connect to the world.

Read the article from Freedom House

Continued protests in Venezuela

February 24th, 2014   News | Venezuela
Protester i Venezuela

Protests in Venezuela

Two weeks in, the protests continue in Venezuela, challenging the country’s socialist government.

In an appearance this weekend, the country’s First Lady Cilia Flores stated at a counter-demonstration that “Venezuela is not Ukraine” and referred to the protesters as “right-wing fascists.”

During the Monday, the opposition’s Henrique Capriles, along with other local leaders, is scheduled to meet with President Maduro, who has stated that “only by defeating the opposition can Venezuela have peace.”

Leopold López, leader of the opposition party Voluntad Popular, is imprisoned and charged by Venezuelan prosecutors with arson and conspiracy, punishable by up to 10 years in jail.

López, who is held in a militarty prison, was arrested by the Venezuelan authorities February 18 at a protest march, from Plaza Venezuela in eastern Caracas, to the Justice Department on Urdaneta Avenue in downtown Caracas, where the demonstrators demanded the release of students arrested by the regime during recent days and that the responsibles for the deaths on February 12 should be held accountable. The Venezuelan authorities had already issued a warrant against López and during the Monday, government troops conducted a raid against the opposition party’s office. Lopez is a former Mayor of Chacao, Caracas, but since 2011 forbidden to hold political office, most likely because the late President Hugo Chávez saw him as a threat.

Wednesday, a young woman died after being shut in the head during protests in Valencia, Carabobo.

Students in Venezuela have during the past 7 days been demonstrating for a better life in a country characterized by inflation and political repression. Sunday, President Nicolás Maduro referred to the students as facsists which he intends to defeat. At the same time, he expelled three U.S. diplomats after the State Department expressed concerns about the violence and political persecution in the country.

Read more about the developments in the country here

Venezuela – Facing civil war

February 19th, 2014   Venezuela

The development in Venezuela is deeply disturbing and reminiscent in its rawness and brutality of what is simultaneously taking place in Ukraine, with the government attacking peaceful protesters.

Protests in Venezuela on February 18

Protests in Venezuela, February 18

Three people have so far been killed, hundreds injured and arrested as the regime’s brutality gets rougher. The Venezuelan mass demonstrations began as an initiative by young people and students. In recent days, more and more people have joined.

What is happening in Venezuela is extremely worrying. The violations of basic human rights and freedom of the press are unacceptable. The closing of churches and cancellation of the Sunday mass is a violation of religious freedom. The world must send a clear signal to the Venezuelan President and government that these acts can not be tolerated.

The Venezuelan economy has since President Maduro took office deteriorated greatly. Inflation is sky high, ordinary people find it difficult to acquire basic goods as the government uses its oil money to buy weapons and provide financial assistance to countries as Cuba and Nicaragua. Today, Venezuela imports oil to fill its own energy supply.

People are starving and their ability to survive the day is getting tougher. It is therefore quite natural that people choose to take to the streets to protest against the economic injustice and lack of democracy.

The regime’s response is increased brutality and violence. The violence against demonstrators is unacceptable and a violation of basic human rights.

The world can no longer ignore what is happening in Venezuela. We must demand an immediate stop to the regime’s violence as well as freedom for the protesters, opposition politicians, business owners and others who are now under arrest.

Christian Holm, MP
Board member, Jarl Hjalmarson Foundation

Today, Swedish Foreign Minister, Mr. Carl Bildt presented the Statement of Swedish Foreign Policy in the Swedish Parliament. He started by emphasizing the importance of the European cooperation and the support within EU for peace, freedom, democracy and human rights.

Furthermore, Mr. Bildt condemned the violence in Ukraine and urged the leaders of the country to together with the opposition, seek a peaceful way to political reforms.

Moreover, the Foreign Minister brought up the alarming situation in Syria, the development in Iran and the Swedish decision to contribute with military to the the conflict in Mali.

Other topics that were raised were the UN cooperation, climate issues and freedom on the internet. Here you can read the statement:

Statement of Government Policy in the Parliamentary Debate on Foreign Affairs

From the Cuban Exile Quarter

February 10, 2014 at 8:00 am Jorge Luis García Pérez “Antúnez” initiated a hunger and thirst strike to protest the escalating State Security provocations. Following the start of the hunger and thirst strike, state security further escalated its repression raiding the home, arresting both Antúnez and Yris, and repeatedly ransacking the house on February 11, February 13 and February 15th. Read more


Protests in Bosnia

February 12th, 2014   Bosnia and Herzegovina | News

Protesters clashed with police and attacked government buildings in Bosnia last week. Leading politicians claim they understand citizens’ dissatisfaction with situation in the country.

Read more on Balkan Insight

Diskussioner i Istanbul om religionsfrihet

Discussions in Istanbul on religious freedom

February 5-6, Jarl Hjalmarson Foundation in cooperation with European Stability Initiative hosted a round-table conference in Istanbul, on freedom of religion in Turkey and the EU member states. The participants were academicians, diplomats, politicians and activists, and the discussions focused on concrete suggestions concerning how the situation can be improved for religious communities and their legal status. (more…)