Archive for March, 2015

Justice Deferred is Justice Denied

Written by Anam Gill on . Posted in Anam's blog: Global issues, E-Magazine, General Information, News, News & Updates, Take Action

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Photo Source: Google

On Wednesday the Federal Government of Pakistan temporarily deferred execution of a 14-year old Shafqat Hussain just few hours before he was set to be hanged. In Pakistan the use of torture evidence and execution of juveniles is illegal. Surely the legal system has specific procedures for dealing with juvenile delinquents yet Shafqat Hussain was arrested and tortured to confess to killing of a child.

The only evidence the courts had was his confession he made after nine days of being tortured in a police cell. He was not tried as a juvenile nor was he given access to a lawyer.

Moments like these make me recall the famous quotation; peace is not the absence of war but the presence of justice. Justice is a fascinating word. We hope to get justice in an unjust world, made unjust by our power hunger, selfishness and greed. Where is the compassion we are seeking? Why are we seeking it in the first place?

What a shame that it took the weight of civil society and an uproar to push the Minister into deferring the execution just hours before he was due to be taken to the gallows. We seek the judicial system for justice and what if the same system is flawed as an entity? We don’t know how many other juveniles are facing the same fate.

Being a signatory of child rights conventions, Pakistan should take measures to meet standards of juvenile justice. Sarah Coleman, Child Protection Chief, UNICEF

The existing Juvenile Justice Ordinance 2000, consisting of only 15 sections, does not cover many important aspects pertaining to child delinquencies, the ordinance needs to be improved. Barrister Salman Safdar

Shafqat Hussain was kept in solitary confinement, blindfolded and beaten brutally by the police. He was being electrocuted and stubbed lit cigarettes on his arms while being asked to confess to the crime.

 I was tortured so severely and continuously that my mind ‘just stopped’. I have no recollection of the trial. Shafqat Hussain

It is important to note that after a seven-year moratorium, Pakistan has reintroduced the death penalty and has also introduced military courts. It will begin executions where clemency and appeals are no longer an option. Following the 2014 Peshawar school attacks that killed over 100 children, the death penalty was reintroduced last December.  According to Amnesty International since 2012, 24 people have been executed including three whose convictions were unrelated to terrorism.

Is this shameful retreat to the gallows a way to resolve Pakistan’s persistent security and law -and -order problems? Those who argue the shallow logic of an eye for an eye, it is worthy to note that the charges of blasphemy, adultery and apostasy are also punishable by death. It is indeed a moral catastrophe for Pakistan. The death penalty and military courts are not known to be the deterrents of crime, especially the military courts where the judges and prosecutors come from army ranks. This indeed is a controversial addition to the flawed judicial system along with Anti-terrorism Courts.

Two months after Pakistan’s Interior Ministry stayed the execution of Shafqat Hussain and ordered an inquiry into why a juvenile was given a death sentence, Pakistan’s Anti-terrorism Court issues a fresh execution order.

Draconian courts like these operate on the premise that the accused is guilty unless proven innocent. Shafqat Hussain who has spent 11 years on death row was not a militant and had nothing to do with terrorism. He worked as a caretaker of an apartment building during his brief freedom in Karachi.

In an era of injustice, shameful violence and intolerance it is our duty to raise our voices for sanity and compassion.  We can’t call Pakistan just and democratic when it provides assistance to banned armed outfits, violent sectarian groups and puts innocent juveniles on death row.

Best Out of Waste Contest – India

Written by Marianne on . Posted in General Information, News, Uncategorized

Nektarina and its Indian partner Zest Youth Movement undertook the Best out of Waste Contest in Pune from November 2014 to February 2015.

The concept

Students were invited to prepare any object they want (like utilitarian or decorative objects, accessories, furniture articles, showpieces, etc), from any waste material, using their inspiration, ideas and creativity, understanding that waste material is something found in the garbage or something that is normally intended to be thrown away.

Our goal through the activity was multiple:

  • To reach maximum number of students and contribute to make them aware about environmental issues and how to adopt a more sustainable lifestyle,
  • To collect some ideas from students through self-expression,
  • Strengths advocating arguments in showing how schools and scholars are interested in sustainability topics,
  • For students to learn and progressively understand that resources should be used carefully, that they could reuse waste material and not always depend on new things,
  • Engage parents and families in the activity and moreover raise sustainability awareness among them, considering that part of the activity will be done from home,
  • Spread inspiration, awareness and sustainability understanding to other students through the exhibition of the works.
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The contest

Mr Suresh More, E4S Country manager for India organised the activity with some volunteers’ help.

Approximately 600 students, from 10 to 17 years old and from nine different schools very enthusiastically participated in the competition.

The response from the students was very good. They prepared very nice things from different waste materials, which were then put up in the exhibitions. The teachers cooperated positively as well and very much liked the topic.

We focused the competition on children, as we aim to bring them to understand the importance of preserving the environment and moreover learn more about sustainability: That we should not throw away waste things, that we could use them again for different purposes and that we should not cause harm to nature.

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The outcomes

The jury has chosen the best works at school level, out of which the 6 best ones were selected. The winners received awards (jute folders and certificates) by the hands of the Principals of Schools in presence of students and teachers representatives. An exhibition and ceremony took place in each school.

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We are very proud of the beautiful works made by the students!

Look at the selection below and all the works here (Flickr).

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