November 25, 2016: The officials of the Kerala assembly denied entry to a man wearing a white check ‘lungi’ into the visitor’s gallery of the Kerala assembly. They said that it was an ‘informal’ dress. The man has filed a complaint against the officials in the Human Rights Commission. The state has asked a clarification from the officers.
Kunjimoyin from Kondotty in Malappuram, was in a group of 38 people. He has come to attend the assembly proceedings on November 8. He was denied permission because of his clothes.
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Kunjimoyin went to Kerala Human Rights Commission and filed a complaint which stated that he was allowed entry at the gate and the assembly building. But he was denied entrance to the visitor’s gallery.
According to PTI, Commission has asked for a clarification from VK Babu Prakash, legislative Secretary, on whether there was a dress code in the gallery.
The Assembly speaker said in response to the complaint that ‘informal dressing is not allowed inside the house and gallery’. He said that decorum needs to be followed. This is the usual practice. The official said, “We are adhering to the procedures followed by Parliament on dressing. Only exception is given to religious symbols. The ‘Kallimundu’ is an informal dress and so the person was not allowed.”
The complainant said it is the Malabar’s custom to wear a kallimandu and a white shirt during auspicious occasions. He said that if there are any rules against people visiting the house wearing kallimandu, these needs to be amended soon.
Geneva, September 21, 2017: “When I was sleeping in my house, four people came and started attacking me with machetes,” said Mariama Staford, an albino in Tanzania. “One of those four people was a neighbor, and he is the one who took the machete and was cutting my arms.”
Staford was 25 years old when she was attacked in 2008. She told VOA that her neighbor first cut off her right arm and threw it to his accomplices. Then, “he chopped off my left arm.”
“I tried my best to struggle in order to defend myself,” she said, “but it was not successful and so they pulled me down in front of my son, who at that time was only two years old.”
She said it took seven hours before villagers carried her on a stretcher to a dispensary.
“When I reached there, the doctor who was on duty said that I should be returned home because I was already dead,” Staford said.
Two years ago, in an effort to counter such attacks, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights appointed Ikponwosa Ero as the first U.N. independent expert on human rights of persons with albinism.
FILE – The U.N.’s independent expert on human rights and albinism, Ikponwosa Ero, addresses a news conference at the end of her official visit to Malawi on April 29, 2016.
Ero, of Nigeria, also has albinism — an inherited condition that affects the pigment of the skin and hair. She said attacks, mutilation and murders occur because of the false belief that albino body parts can bring wealth and good luck.
Ero told VOA that she has documented close to 800 cases of attacks against albinos in the past decade in sub-Saharan Africa, where such witchcraft-related violence is most common.
“Those are reported cases alone. Most cases are not reported because most cases involve family members or people known to the victim,” Ero said.
She said the practice thrives because there is a lot of money to be made.
“The Red Cross reported that the body parts were valued on the black market. Like an arm was valued at $2,000, and a complete corpse at about $75,000. So, there are profits to be made even though you do not believe in witchcraft,” she said.
Though it is the witch doctors who drive this trade, they rarely are brought to justice. Ero said there were very few witch doctors among the prisoners she met during two visits last year to Malawi and Mozambique to assess the situation of people with albinism.
“Societies are afraid of them,” Ero said. “The police are afraid of them. So, those are usually not prosecuted.
“And then the people on the high scale who are going to pay the money are usually not in jail because they are the elite. Who you find in jail are poor farmers, poor peddlers who are offered a lot of money.”
No one has paid for the crime committed against Mariama Staford.
“My case reached the trials, and the neighbor that I knew for 10 years was released,” she said. “The court said that because I have albinism, I have low vision, so I could not have recognized my neighbor chopping off my arms.”
Staford has suffered other repercussions, as well. When the attack occurred, she was six months pregnant. She lost her baby.
She told VOA she also must live with the suffering of her son who, as a two-year-old child, was forced to witness the horrific attack against his mother.
“It saddens me to know that, as a mother, I was unable to take care of him, just like a mother would do — even embrace him after the attack,” Staford said. “But also, he is a sad person and he always remembers what happened.”
Staford said there should be stringent laws against any person who attacks people with albinism. She also would like to see the government take away licenses to practice from witch doctors.
Staford and her son, who does not have albinism, as well as two siblings — who do have the condition — are living in protective custody in a safe house in Tanzania run by a branch of a Canadian-U.S. charitable organization called Under the Same Sun. (VOA)
Panaji, August 14, 2017: Terming the disrobing of deceased women a human rights violation, the Goa State Human Rights Commission on Monday said that all panchayat and municipal agencies should ensure that the practice is prevented.
“Disrobing the deceased woman in the crematorium certainly amounts to violation of basic human rights of the women which is required to be prevented by the concerned authorities by taking appropriate steps,” the order states.
The order, which was issued following a petition by Goa-based women’s group Bailancho Saad, also said that the state government, through the office of the Chief Secretary, should ensure that the fiat is complied with.
Disrobing of female corpses on the funeral pyre is a common practice among Goa’s Hindu community. (IANS)
Raja Chari is an American of Indian descent chosen by NASA for the new batch of astronauts
Currently, he is a Lieutenant Colonel in the US Air Force
Chari will have to go through two years of astronaut training which begins in August
June 06, 2017: NASA has chosen 12 astronauts out of a record-breaking 18,300 applications for upcoming space missions. An American of Indian descent, Raja Chari, has successfully earned his spot in the top 12.
The astronauts were selected on the basis of expertise, education, and physical tests. This batch of 12 astronauts is the largest group selected by NASA since two decades. The group consisting of 7 men and 5 women surpassed the minimum requirements of NASA.
Born in Waterloo, Iowa, Chari graduated from Air Force Academy in 1999 with a bachelor’s degree in Astronautical Engineering and Engineering Science. He went on to complete his master’s in Aeronautics and Astronautics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The astronaut is also a graduate of US Naval Test Pilot School.
Currently, Raja Chari is a Lieutenant Colonel in the US Air Force. He is the commander of 461st Flight Test Squadron and director of the F-35 Integrated Test Force at Edwards Air Force Base in California.
After Late Kalpana Chawla, Lt. Col. Raja Chari is the second Indian American astronaut chosen by NASA.
The 12 astronauts will have to go through two years of training. Upon completion, they will be assigned their missions ranging from research at the International Space Station, launching from American soil on spacecraft by private companies, to flying on deep space missions on NASA’s Orion Spacecraft.
The US Vice-President Mike Pence visited the Johnson Space Centre in Houston to announce and congratulate the new batch. Pence also said that President Trump is “fully committed” to NASA’s missions in space.