December 9 statement by La Via Campesina: We call on humanity to act immediately to rebuild the life of all of nature, applying the concept of “life in balance.”
Members of La Vía Campesina from more than thirty countries from all over the world united our thousands of struggles in Cancun to demand environmental and social justice, and respect for Mother Earth at the UN Conference on Climate Change (COP 16). We joined together to denounce the attempts of governments, mainly from the North, to commercialize the essential elements of life in benefit of transnational corporations and to publicize the thousands of grassroots solutions to cool the planet and stop the environmental devastation that seriously threatens humanity today.
Working mostly out of our base at the Alternative Global Forum for Life, Environmental and Social Justice, we held workshops, assemblies, and meetings with allies. On December 7 we staged a global action that we called “Thousands of Cancuns”. The events this day had an impact across the planet and even into the halls of the Moon Palace where delegates to the COP 16 meet. Actions included a march of thousands of members of La Via Campesina accompanied by indigenous Mayans from the Mexican peninsula of Yucatan and our allies from national and international organizations.
Mobilization to Cancun began November 28 with three caravans that left from San Luis Potosi, Guadalajara and Acapulco and traveled through places that exemplify environmental destruction, as well as local resistance of affected communities. The organization of the caravans was carried out along with the National Assembly of Environmentally Affected Peoples, the Movement for National Liberation, the Mexican Electricians Union (SME) and the hundreds of villages and people who opened their doors with generosity and solidarity. On November 30 the caravans arrived in Mexico City, where we held an International Forum and march accompanied by thousands of people and hundreds of organizations that also struggle for environmental and social justice.
On our journey to Cancun, other caravans—one from Chiapas, one from Oaxaca and one from Guatemala—joined us after many hours of traveling. We met up in Merida to hold a ceremony at Chichen Itza and finally arrived in Cancun on December 3 to set up our camp for Life and Environmental and Social Justice. The next day, Dec. 4, we inaugurated our Forum and began activities in Cancun.
Why did we go to Cancun?
Current models of consumption, production and trade have caused massive environmental destruction. Indigenous peoples and peasant farmers, men and women, are the main victims. So our mobilization to Cancun, and in Cancun, sought to tell the world that we need a change in economic and development paradigms.
We must go beyond the anthropocentric model. We must rebuild the cosmovision of our peoples, based on a holistic view of the relationship between the cosmos, Mother Earth, the air, the water and all living beings. Human beings do not own nature, but rather form part of all that lives.
Given the urgency to reconceive the system, the climate and the earth, we denounce:
We do not agree with the simple idea of “mitigating” or “adapting” to climate change. We need social, ecological and climate justice, so we demand:
La Vía Campesina, as an organization that represents millions and millions of small farmer families in the world, is concerned about the need to recover climatic equilibrium. Therefore we call for:
Today, right now, we call on humanity to act immediately to rebuild the life of all of nature, applying the concept of “life in balance.”
This is why, from the four corners of the planet, we stand up to say:
No more harm to our Mother Earth! No more destruction of the planet! No more evictions from our territories! No more murder of the sons and daughters of the Mother Earth! No more criminalization of our struggles!
No to the Copenhagen agreement. Yes to the principles of Cochabamba.
¡REDD NO! ¡Cochabamba SI!
The earth is not for sale, it must be recovered and defended!
GLOBALIZE THE STRUGGLE, GLOBALIZE HOPE
CALL FOR ACTION on CBI COVER-UP!!!
Let us Protest against CBI cover up report on Shopian Rape and Murder case
DEMAND JUSTICE FOR NEELOFAR AND ASIYA!!!
A Public Event in New Delhi on 13th December, 2010 at 4pm in front of CBI Office
Come and participate with one white bed sheet with the words ‘TO THE CBI - FOR YOUR NEXT COVER-UP!!!’ written in huge letters across it with the name of the organisation/individual below.
Even as the Kashmir valley has been in turmoil, yet again, with excesses by the armed forces, cases of rape and killings remain unresolved especially when involving the police, para military or military.
Shopian Double Death Case: Asiya Jaan and her sister-in-law Neelofar Jaan left home in the evening of 29th May, 2009 BUT did not return. Their bodies were recovered from the banks of Rambiara Nullah on the morning of 30th of May 2009 in the same spot that a search party including the local police had searched- a very well-lit area- till the early hours of 30th May.
The police was very much on the scene but did little to collect evidence; for five days no case was registered. The first post-mortem report (District Hospital, Shopian) and the second-post-mortem report (by a medical team from Pulwama district and analysed at the Forensic Sciences Laboratory, Srinagar) stated rape and murder in its report. Even as Shopian town observed a 45-day long Bandh the people of Kashmir put aside all other political demands to join this agitation and the people of Jammu also lent solidarity. Further investigations began slowly and progressed in fits and starts. The High Court said that the police were either implicated in the crime or were shielding the culprits. On the basis of the inquiries conducted by the (ex-Justice) Muzaffar Jan Inquiry Commission the interim report was of the view that the two women were sexually assaulted and probably murdered to cover up this crime. It also pointed to acts of omission and commission by members of the civil administration, police and doctors in gross mishandling of investigations.
Amidst the failure of the local police and political pronouncements of the Union Home Minister giving a clean chit to the armed forces before the Parliament, it was decided on September 17, 2009, to hand over the case from a Special investigation Team to the CBI. The CBI, however, built an extra-judicial case and used the media extensively to make all earlier investigations in the case seem motivated or incompetent. Some of the news leaks were simply fantastic – like finding an intact hymen in a body buried for four months and so deny rape, like finding diatoms of Rambiara to show that the women drowned when the Nullah is the source of drinking water for the whole town or like accusing the gynaecologist of substituting her own vaginal swab in the place of those taken from the victims.
The CBI concluded that the women died from ‘accidental drowning’! Its report is based upon the autopsy conducted in September, 2009 by forensic experts of AIIMS after exhumation of the buried bodes. The CBI inquiry is mired in the highly uncertain and contested medical claims of the AIIMS team, allegations of intimidation of many of the witnesses and state representatives and destruction of evidence, the dubious role of many government agencies, incompetence and lack of transparency. It filed supplementary charge-sheets against the State prosecutors, doctors, advocates for the complainant, advocates demanding justice and the family members of the women.
The CBI report states that there was no rape, no murder and that the implicated and suspended policemen were innocent. The report does not explain how the bodies of the two women were invisible to the search party the whole night and appeared suddenly at dawn how these young women drowned in a shallow, two-feet deep Nullah where no deaths have taken place or explained eyewitnesses’ accounts that Neelofar’s body was wet only from one side nor how the hymen can be found intact in a body buried for four months. The policemen’s acts of commission and omission - they did not collect any forensic evidence from the site, did not cordon it, did not register the case- have not been punished; the four suspended policemen have been reinstated. The CBI has not made public the findings of the Special Investigation Team. This calls into serious question the credibility of the CBI Report which has simply tried to bury the case and convinced no one.
We have been following up on this case from the very start. A demonstration demanding justice was held in Delhi in mid- June, 2009 followed by a fact-finding in August, 2009. A press conference on the findings was held prior to the submission of CBI’s final report to the Courts in December, 2009. In May, 2010, with no justice in sight, we wrote an open letter to the Chief Justice of India, to the National Commission for Women and to the National Human Rights Commission which was endorsed by many of you.
WE HAVE HAD NO RESPONSE SO FAR. If the country’s leading investigative agency can apparently facilitate a report to suit the political exigencies of the extant governments, whether at State or Union level, rather than conduct a professional and impartial inquiry that serves the purposes of justice, it points to the levels of both injustice and corruption that subverts the due rights guaranteed in the democratic republic of India.
With official channels exhausted we feel that it is time to make the issue public- expose the role of CBI and shame them for this COVER UP. We propose to send them white bed sheets to shame them for their role in this case.
We hope that every one of you, organisation or individual, who feels that the CBI is responsible for perpetrating this injustice, should participate and send us sheets as symbolic gifts to the CBI .
- Send one white bed sheet with the words ‘TO THE CBI - FOR YOUR NEXT COVER-UP!!!’ written in huge letters across it with the name of the organisation/individual below.
- collect all white bed sheets and display your solidarity with Neelofar and Asiya and the countless other rapes and sexual assaults that have taken place in Jammu and Kashmir and which have seen NO JUSTICE.
- display all your white bed sheets at a Public Event in New Delhi on 13th December, 2010 to mark the anniversary of CBI ’s handing over its COVER-UP REPORT.
THE WHITE BED SHEETS WILL THEN BE GIFTED TO CBI ’S HEADQUARTERS IN DELHI , WITH YOUR COMPLIMENTS.
You can also collect signatures on your sheet from public demonstrations in your region/city.
The Fortnight protesting Violence Against Women could be used to collect signatures in large numbers as many of you might be campaigning and observing this fortnight.
Through this action we want the Home Ministry and the CBI to be aware that we continue to DEMAND JUSTICE FOR NEELOFAR AND ASIYA, for all women of Jammu & Kashmir and for all women of India.
Women against Sexual violence and State repression (WSS), Delhi
SHARIA, FATWAS AND WOMEN’S RIGHTS
Asghar Ali Engineer
Every now and then media reports fatwas issued by muftis in India, Saudi Arabia and other countries. One mufti in Saudi Arabia even
suggested that if a Muslim woman has to keep a man for household work and interact with him though he is not mehram (from prohibited degree
for marriage), she should suckle him from her breast to make him mehram. This fatwa was based on a hadith narrated by hazrat A’isha.
Darul Uloom Deoband, though does commendable work for peace and communal harmony, issues fatwas when it comes to women which reduce
women as mere secondary to men or something subservient to them. Recently someone from Dubai jocularly typed on his computer talaq
thrice he was told your wife has now been divorced and he cannot marry her until she marries someone else who divorces her and then only she
can revert to her former husband who jocularly typed the dreaded word.
In Iran a middle aged woman called Sakineh was punished to death by stoning as she was alleged to have committed adultery though Qur’an no
where mentions such a punishment and prescribes only 100 lashes for zina and in Arabic there is only one word be it rape, fornication or
adultery. More recently, Darul Uloom Deoband issued a fatwa saying that her husband said word talaq thrice on mobile and even is she did
not hear it triple divorce has taken place and she must marry someone else as a necessary condition.
These fatwas are issued just because some jurist or the other had so opined hundreds of years ago keeping in view the conditions then
prevailing in society. On most of these issues there is no ijma’ (consensus) and many of them are even based on controversial hadith.
The opinion given by jurists hundreds of years ago were based not only on Qur’an o hadith but also on social structure and social ethos then
Most of the Ulama or jurists, when asked for fatwa consult only those medieval sources and never bother to apply there own reasoning power.
Taqlid (mechanical following) is considered as safest by all these jurists. However, even in those days many jurists had strongly
condemned taqlid. Ibn Taymiyyah and Ibn Hazm both were great jurists and both have condemned thoughtless imitation.
Ibn Hazm was from Spain and used to give great importance to freedom of thought and independence of thinking in his juristic thinking. In
this he was influenced by his teacher Abul Khayar. He was also of the opinion that one can be called ‘Alim as long as one engages in seeking
knowledge. But one who thinks he knows enough is, in fact, jahil (ignorant). And seeking knowledge is seeking truth which is possible
only through intellectual process. Our Ulama and jurists, as we know,have long since stopped thinking.
Qur’an is very fundamental source for Islamic jurisprudence but Ibn Hazm, very rightly puts Qur’anic verses in three categories: 1) those
verses which need no other source to understand; 2) those verses which can be understood in the light of other verses of the Qur’an and 3)
those verses which can be understood in the light of authentic hadith and authentic is one which has been narrated by most reliable and many
narrators. Even if this method is followed Islamic jurisprudence, especially in respect of family laws, can be revolutionized.
Most of the jurists unfortunately rely, in matters of family laws, more on weak hadith than on Qur’an. Ibn Hazm, who apparently followed
Zahiri School (but not by way of taqlid) strongly criticizes who do not think by themselves and simply resort to taqlid. And Ibn Hazm said
all this in 14th century Spain. Our jurist live in 21st century and yet resort to mechanical following of their respective schools.
In fact another Spanish jurist Al-Shatibi was also very creative in his thinking about shari’ah laws. He said that one must first
understand the maqasid and masalih i.e. basic objectives and welfare of people for whom shari’ah laws are being framed. Our muftis and
jurists do not at all keep these objectives and welfare of people in mind and simply consult standard books of their respective schools (of
jurisprudence) and issue fatwas.
It is because of these fatwas that Islam is negatively projected in media and them we complain against media for its Islam bashing. A
truly religious person should look at his/her own fault first before blaming others. As someone said we try to remove dust from mirror
instead of from our own face. The mirror is going to show dust on our face in any case as long as it is on our face.
Today it is highly necessary to dust off our own face and restore dignity of Islamic shari’ah by re-thinking several issues pertaining
to personal laws restoring dignity and rights of women as given by Qur’an and taken away due to personal opinions of jurists in their own
circumstances. Imitation should be thrown out of window and all eminent jurists from entire Islamic world should come together and
compile corpus of laws giving equal rights to women in matters of marriage, divorce, inheritance, etc.
There is no doubt if we keep maqasid al-shari’ah (objectives) and masalih al-shari’ah (welfare of people) and resort to independent
thinking and freedom of thought the Islamic laws would become not only highly just but a model to be followed by all. Ibn Hazm, for example,
was of the opinion that if man is economically weak and woman who wishes to be divorced well off, it is for divorced wife to maintain
her former husband, something which modern law stipulates. We must go directly to Qur’an and accept only very authentic hadith and Muslim
women will be more equal than in other laws.
Centre for Study of Society and Secularism