Monday, September 27, 2010

Current Events Watch- Suffrage


There are still places in the world where people are struggling to achieve the right to choose the leaders who govern them. Select one such country, and read about recent efforts to gain or expand suffrage there. Briefly describe the struggle, conclude by predicting whether and/or when the struggle for suffrage will succeed.

Sudanese elections

19 comments:

  1. Talks focused on some magic “formula,” some elusive “squaring of the circle,” that would let Israel resume settlement building while inducing the Palestinian side to continue to participate in the negotiations as if this were not happening. This frantic search for a verbal solution to a real problem resembled so much of what has been the problem in the endless search for the “Holy Grail” of peace in the Holy Land: the focus on finding a “form of words” rather than actually impacting the real situation on the ground. The race against the clock (and it became just that, in its last few hours, after the race against the calendar had already failed) was not successful. By Sunday night, and even more so on Monday morning, settlement building resumed, with great fanfare.

    Bibliography:
    http://www.asianews.it/news-en/Settlements-hastening-the-fusion-of-Israel-and-Palestine-into-a-single-state-19576.html

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  2. Afghanistan is a nation that is strictly a "republic". The government claims to let their people have a voice in government, but elections are often crooked and rigged. The governors that are "elected" make all the decisions for their district that they were elected to. Afghani men are the only people that are allowed to vote. Struggles for women's right to vote often ends in violence. Efforts to widen suffrage are bleak and small. From birth, everyone but Afghani born men, are raised to accept and acknowledge the fact that they have no rights.

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  3. North Korea is a country of "pure evil" according to George W. Bush. Why would he say such a thing? It's because North Korea is a dictator country and doesn't allow for its citizens to have a voice. On June 13, 2009, the Associated Press reported that in response to new UN sanctions, North Korea declared it would progress with its uranium enrichment program. This is the first time the DPRK has publicly acknowledged that it is conducting a uranium enrichment program. "In August 2009, former US president Bill Clinton met with Kim Jong-il to secure the release of 2 US journalists, who had been sentenced for entering the country illegally."
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_Korea
    I don't think the suffering will end anytime soon.

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  4. In Afghanistan, people are still struggling to vote for their leaders. In an article about Afghanistan crossroads, it states, "Many Afghans were denied the right to vote in parliamentary elections because the country is too dangerous and because of logistical failures." In Afghanistan, there is suspicion about voting fraud. People have been arrested for vote fraud recently. "There were large swaths of the population who were unable to participate, whether because they didn't want to or because they were prevented by violence or discouraged by fraud," stated by the "Watchdog Group" Article.

    (http://afghanistan.blogs.cnn.com/2010/09/20/watchdog-group-many-afghans-denied-right-to-vote/)

    Many human rights violations occur in Taliban. A spokesman in Taliban stated, "We urge people not to participate in the election. Everything and everyone affiliated with the election is our target — candidates, security forces, campaigners, election workers, voters are all our targets.”

    (http://www.stirblog.org/2010/09/dont-count-out-the-afghan-voters-yet/)

    In order to fix the problem of not being able to vote because of the violence and fraud, some voters in Afghanistan voted anyways. "At least 14 civilians were killed in the second parliamentary vote since the 2001 US-led invasion ousted the Taliban but more than 3.5 million Afghans took part in the election." Many voters were praised for their "courage and determination." Afghanistan plans to make more detailed reports about voting fraud, such as shortages of ballots. "The voice of Afghanistan's future does not belong to the violent extremists and terror networks. It belongs to the people." Hopefully the voices of the people will overcome the violence. "Experts said violence, expectations of fraud, vested interests and a voting process that favours the status quo would knock numbers."

    (http://news.smh.com.au/breaking-news-world/afghans-praised-for-voting-in-shadow-of-violence-20100918-15h20.html)

    Afghanistan is working on their country and on October 12th, 2010 "the Afghan people took another step toward lasting peace and prosperity while dealing a blow to terrorism. Afghan women and men turned out in massive numbers to participate in the first direct presidential election in the country's history." This is a huge step to take and I believe that suffrage will expand in Afghanistan because they are working on minimizing violence and inspiring people who live there to care about their country and the people who govern them. It is, however, going to be hard for the Afghan people to make a "transition from conflict and dictatorship to popular empowerment." Despite this, the election is a milestone and "As the expectations of Afghans grow, Afghan leaders and our international partners must continue to deliver public security, economic growth and good governance." I think that overtime, Afghanistan will be able to achieve their goals and suffrage will succeed.

    (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A25657-2004Oct11.html)

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  5. Sudan government has been preventing the press from speaking out. They detain a lot of journalists without reason. The government there wants all their opponents. Now the sudanese government is "required to cooperate with the ICC." But will they? Obviously and ironically, people are happiest and most cooperative when they are given the right to protest their government, whether it be through Journalism or public protest. The sudan government has really been trying to prevent any of that, which in reality is counter productive. I suppose in time they could improve, but I feel the struggle will go on for quite some time.

    http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2010/05/24/sudan-end-post-election-repression

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  6. The people of Sudan have been faced with the challenge of fighting for their rights. Currently, Sudan is run by the National Congress Party [NPC] and they have done nothing but shoot down the thought of an uprising against their government. Examples of such shut downs include imprisoning journalists and student members of the opposition United Popular Front (UPF). They have even been detained without charge. "The National Congress Party is trying to silence political opponents, the media, and activists to stifle criticism and dissent and consolidate control" http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2010/05/24/sudan-end-post-election-repression
    Abuse has also been found present within the Sundanese government. This can be seen through the countless number of arrests of the opposition party. Some members of the opposition party have been abused and tortured. The sudanese government has proclaimed that this censorship would end, but nothing has been done by them. Finally the comprehensive peace agreement ended a 20 year civil war and has even prepared a program to get Sudan back in shape, so that they will be able to be independent. It was even said that there will be elections in the near future of January 2011, which is a huge step for Sudan to be taking as a country. If things go according to the peace agreement, then the country should thrive on the ability to elect who is in power. The people will have more rights, as they should have their whole life.

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  7. I have chosen China as my country in suffrage because they are still in a dictatorship and I have found an article which states that there will be a so called "Suffrage Showdown" (http://www.asiasentinel.com) in Hong Kong. They are in discussion on how their central government will work and having elections in 2012. They cannot decide if the one person, one vote rule will apply in China. China is still trying to make deals in trying to reform and make changes to end suffrage, but the people of China do not seem to happy with what the leaders of China have decided to do. So it seems as if China's public is okay with the suffrage.

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  8. The country I chose is Iraq and how they struggle to keep a government that controls everything. Iraq constantly has car bombings, random killings, and more horrific things that happen daily. It is even said that "overall, 23% of Iraq's population lives below the poverty line (spending $2.20 per person per day), according to figures from the Iraqi government and the World Bank."(http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-11095920). This shows how they are struggling to achieve a balance so they can have a working society. The U.S. is trying to keep troops there to try to start a government that will be controlable after they leave. "The latest report from the World Food Programme in November 2008, described an estimated 3.1% of Iraqi households - 930,000 people - as "food insecure", living with hunger and fearing starvation."(http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-11095920). There is not a government to make sure all the people in Iraq are being helped and that cause rebells to take over. I predict that the rebells will keep fighting strong and will completely take over because the U.S. can not stay there forever. So sadly the suffrage will proceed and the people in Iraq will suffer for it.

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  9. In Afghanistan people are struggling to vote for the leader they want. The reason behind this is because the Taliban disrupt voting causing people to not show up because of fear. Recent voting has been canceled do to the fact that there was bribing to get to vote.” I was five minutes late today, and i had to bribe the supervisor of the voting centre $10 to let me in.”(http://www.demotix.com/) Also there has been rigging in the election. There will be a long struggle ahead for people being able to vote freely in this election. When they finally are able to vote there will be change in the country.

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  10. People in Cuba have been struggling to vote for their leaders for a very long time. Cuba is a dictatorship ruled by Ra ul Castro who is preceded by Fidel Castro. The President or "dictator" of Cuba is elected by the National Assembly of People's Power. "National Elections to the assembly take place every five years."
    (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Assembly_of_People%27s_Power)
    The people of Cuba do not get to choose who is their ruler because the National Assembly gets to choose. Cubans have had the same ruler for far too long and now his brother is in power. People around the world and in the United States are still unsure of whether Cuba is a dictatorship or not and Cuba has been accused of ignoring human rights.

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  11. Angola like many other countries in Africa suffers from poverty, corruption, war and suffrage. The current dictator of Angola is José Eduardo dos Santos who has been in power since 1979 doing whatever he pleases using the country’s wealth in diamonds for himself personally instead of spending it on the millions of hungry and dying people throughout the country. Or he could have used that money to help stop the civil war that was going on in the country from 1975 all the way up until 2002 but instead he just sat back and let the country tear itself apart. Nobody even hopes for a new leader to help their country get out of its current state because they know no matter how hard they may try it will not get them anywhere because in the end José will find a way to make sure that he will remain the leader of Angola till his death. He wasn't even challenged for his position for the first 13 years he was in power because no other party was ever able to run for office until 1992 and even then they didn’t stand a chance to José’s corruptness. I don’t think anything can be done to help suffrage succeed unless some major power like the United States stepped in like they did in Iraq and physically removed the current state of government and created an entirely new system for the country to run on.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angola

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  12. In Somalia, this underdeveloped African country is a country in transition. "Somalia is not an electoral democracy. The Somali state has in many respects ceased to exist... Because of mounting civil unrest and the breakdown of the state" (http://psephos.adam-carr.net/countries/s/somalia/statssomalia.shtml). There has never been a free election in Somalia. Citizens struggle to vote for a presidential leader. The president is picked out by warlords of the different clans participating in the Somali Civil War which started in 1991. Free elections would probably be held when the Civil War is over and when some governmental and justice system is firmly established.

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  13. Pakistan's government is currently a federal parliamentary system, which does not allow the people to elect their president, instead leaving the Electoral College to decide. In recent years, the people have fought and proposed for a more democratic government, and although progress has been made, it seems to be a long time before anything will change. In recent years, Pakistan's government has been through quite a lot, from their own constitution being suspended with ex-President Musharraf's declaration of a state of emergency in 2007 (to derail any other person to replace him) to the first general elections held in February 2008 with the end result to force Musharraf to step down and begin his impeachment. "Pakistan has remained a state between dictatorship and democracy neither has democracy proved to be durable nor has dictatorship remained stable. After elections 2008 there is hope for continuity of democracy in the country. But first its citizens including political and military leadership to tolerate each other and respect their own laws and constitution"
    (http://www.panoramalibya.com/modules/smartsection/item.php?itemid=612)
    As the struggle continues for suffrage and signs such as the elections point towards a better government, I believe that eventually the country will pull through to a more if not total democracy. However, though I do feel that Pakistan will reach their goal, I do not see this happening in the near future, but I do hope that the citizens voice their opinions even louder and prove me wrong.

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  14. The people of the Sudan nation have been tied down and restricted being able to not vote or speak out of it's government. Journalists and students are being detained without charge. "Over the past two weeks, national security officials have arrested two leading opposition figures and four journalists and resumed harsh pre-print censorship."
    (http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2010/05/24/sudan-end-post-election-repression)
    Instead of this nation trying to strengthen it's destroying itself by it's own government.

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  15. "The National Congress Party is trying to silence political opponents, the media, and activists to stifle criticism and dissent and consolidate control," said Rona Peligal.
    In Sudan, the National Congress Party basically runs the Sudan government, arresting people whom speak out against the Sudenese Government and stop the Rights that they are supposed to have. They have arrested and tortured many journalists whom write in the PCP-affiliated newspaper. There continues to be multiple closures of all newspapers around the Sudan. It is very unfortunate that the people are not able to be exposed to the writings and media of all the other parties, becasue they are all shut down. This is a violation of Human Rights, and so far- it seems like it wont end for a very long while.

    (http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2010/05/24/sudan-end-post-election-repression)

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  16. Currently Cuba is under a dictatorship, their leader is Raul Castro. The cuban government has been accused of abusing the people's human rights. Also the people have no freedom of speech, "Cubans are systematically denied basic rights to free expression, association, assembly, privacy, movement, and due process of law"(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cuba#Human_rights)
    "Suffrage is afforded to Cuban citizens resident for two years on the island who are aged over sixteen years and who have not been found guilty of a criminal offense. Cubans living abroad are denied the right to vote"(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Politics_of_Cuba)
    Cubans are not allowed to vote for their president, and if any one wants to not follow their rules, then the government can take away their civil liberties.
    I believe that this type of dictatorship will not end any time soon. These people have lived under the rules of this dicatorship for many years, and I have not seen any change at all over the years. In order for this government to come to an end, will be a miracle.

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  17. Currently, Afghanistan is struggling to find a new leader because the Taliban are creating fear in the pubic to keep them from voting. On top of that there is suspicion of voter fraud. Even though there is fear and violence over the voting fraud, the country is definitely moving in the right direction. "Afghan women and men turned out in massive numbers to participate in the first direct presidential election in the country's history." The people of Afghanistan rose above their fear to vote for a new leader for their country which shows great courage.
    "(http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A25657-2004Oct11.html)"

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  18. There seems to be many problems in Afghanistan and the people of Afghanistan seem to not know if the struggle is worth it, but David Petraeus has produced a small island of promise, with the beginnings of good security, competent local government and active citizen participation.

    http://www.politicsdaily.com/2010/08/08/the-struggle-for-afghanistan-counting-progress-in-small-steps/

    The soldiers believe that they can't convince this generation of citizens to fight against their country or try different things. They believe that they must teach the kids, the next generation. The next generation is the one that will change afghanistan.

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  19. Ethnic Koreans who reside in Japan aren't able to vote in local elections. Conservatives in Japan are against the voting of foreign residence in their elections. "The suffrage issue is highly political and emotional in Japan as conservatives are opposed to granting voting rights to foreign residents." (http://news.brunei.fm/2010/01/14/south-korean-president-lee-upbeat-about-suffrage-for-japans-ethnic-koreans/). There are about 600,000 Koreans living in Japan, mostly permanently. "About 600,000 ethnic Koreans reside in Japan on a permanent basis, most of them descendants of those forcibly brought to Japan during its colonization of the Korean Peninsula from 1910-45." (http://news.brunei.fm/2010/01/14/south-korean-president-lee-upbeat-about-suffrage-for-japans-ethnic-koreans/). They have been pushing for the right to vote in Japan for a while now and are close to being able to.

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