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December 27, 2014 / 5 Tevet, 5775
 
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Posts Tagged ‘Guatemala’

Tensions with Catholics Force Lev Tahor Out of Guatemala Village

Sunday, August 31st, 2014

Members of the controversial Haredi sect Lev Tahor left a Guatemalan village after religiously tainted disputes with its Roman Catholic Mayan residents.

Over 200 members of the community began leaving Thursday after local leaders said they would cut services to Lev Tahor members.

The move is one of many recent disruptions for the group, which has been targeted with child abuse allegations in Canada.

Lev Tahor had maintained a small presence in San Juan La Laguna, a village about 90 miles west of Guatemala City, for about six years, but it expanded considerably in March after a contingent arrived complaining of persecution by Canadian authorities.

Tensions appear to have flared after the newcomers arrived, and leaders of the village told news agencies that the group sought to impose its practices on the indigenous peoples.

Miguel Vasquez Cholotio, a member of the elders’ council, told Reuters the sect members refused to greet or have physical contact with anyone outside their community.

“We felt intimidated by them in the streets. We thought they wanted to change our religion and customs,” he said. Vasquez Cholotio told AFP that the villagers “need to conserve and preserve our culture.”

Uriel Goldman, a spokesman for Lev Tahor, told Reuters that the group had friendly relations with the locals, and was the victim of charges by a minority among the village’s leaders. He said the group would seek another site in Guatemala to settle.

Lev Tahor Cult Quietly Leaves Canada

Saturday, August 23rd, 2014

The Haredi Lev Tahor cult is leaving its community from Canada to Guatemala, where other families of the group fled earlier this year.

Approximately six families still are in Chatham, Ontario, where the cult was based after having escaped last year from Quebec, where it faced various criminal charges of child abuse and child custody disputes with welfare officials.

Several children and adults fled Ontario last March, and some of them reached Guatemala while others were returned to Canada by immigration authorities.

Five or six families still remain in Ontario, the London Free Press reported Friday. Most of the 200 cult members who left Quebec are in Guatemala, and a few have moved to the United States and Israel.

“This story is going to end not with a bang, but with a very loud fizzle,” Lev Tahor’ lawyer Guidy Mamann told the newspaper.

“I don’t think anybody is planning on staying.”

Mamann said that there are not enough men remaining to hold a minyan for daily prayers. “The yeshiva more or less closed down. They have only six guys left,” he added.

Six Lev Tahor Children May Remain In Guatemala, Judge Rules

Tuesday, March 18th, 2014

Six children from the Haredi Lev Tahor sect who fled Canada will be allowed to remain in Guatemala with their parents, but with conditions, a Guatemalan family court judge ruled Tuesday.

The Lev Tahor members from two families can stay in the Central American country, but they must check in with the Canadian embassy within three days, the Toronto Star reported. Sect members must return to the town of Solola, where they settled after fleeing Canada earlier this month, with the proper paperwork from the Canadian embassy, the judge said.

A violation of the order will lead to criminal charges, according to the newspaper.

Fourteen children and several Lev Tahor adults fled Canada two weeks ago ahead of an appeal of an Ontario court order mandating that the children be placed in protective custody.

Eight of the children traveled to Trinidad and Tobago, where they were taken into custody and returned to Canada. Two more children were apprehended in Calgary and also removed from the sect.

Child protection officials in Ontario and Quebec say they have evidence of abuse in the community, including physical beatings, underage marriage and substandard education. The community has denied all allegations and claims it is a victim of religious persecution.

A spokesman for Guatemala’s Ministry of Immigration confirmed Monday that the Lev Tahor members are under surveillance by the country’s national police force, the Star reported.

Guatemala Recognizes Palestinian Authority as a State

Thursday, April 11th, 2013

Guatemala has recognized Palestine as a state, which it believes will help bring about a peace agreement with Israel. It joins several Latin American countries that have recognized a sovereign state of Palestine in the last two years.

The Guatemala’s president’s office said in a statement that it decided to “recognize the State of Palestine as a free, sovereign and independent state” in order to “gain new momentum” in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

“The decision in no way alters Guatemala’s long tradition of friendship and cooperation with the State of Israel, a relationship the Guatemalan government highly values,” the statement added.

Bolivia, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Ecuador, Chile, Peru and Guyana all have recognized an independent Palestinian state, some specifying that it be located within 1967 borders.

 

 

Gloria Steinem, Women Under Siege, Documenting Sex Crimes in Syria in Real Time

Thursday, March 29th, 2012

“Imagine what it would mean to track rape in conflict in real time – we’re doing it in Syria,” declares the new website Women Under Siege.

“Our mission is to show the world that each woman raped has been illegally brutalized against her will. We aim to show that this woman, wherever she is, matters. As part of this, we’re trying something new: telling individual stories from Syria as they happen.”

The website is calling on women and men from Syria and those working with Syrian refugees to provide reports of sexualized violence as the crisis there continues to unfold.

A Women’s Media Center initiative, Women Under Siege is documenting and advocating against sexualized violence in conflict. Spearheaded by Gloria Steinem, this initiative explores historical evidence that sexualized violence occurred in wars from the Holocaust to the present day. In the belief that understanding what happened in the past might have helped us to prevent or to prepare for the mass sexual assaults of other conflicts, from Bosnia to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Women Under Siege is working to heighten public consciousness of causes and prevention.

“We are relying on you to help us discover whether rape and sexual assault are widespread—such evidence can be used to aid the international community in grasping the urgency of what is happening in Syria, and can provide the base for potential future prosecutions,” declare the website operator. “Our goal is to make these atrocities visible, and to gather evidence so that one day justice may be served.”

The website has partnered with a Harvard-based doctor and an epidemiologist from Columbia University, as well as multiple Syrian activists.

In an article titled “The cartography of suffering: Women Under Siege maps sexualized violence in Syria,” published on the new website, Lauren Wolfe and Catherine M. Mullaly write:

When we hear about conflicts in foreign countries and imagine terrible acts, our thoughts don’t turn immediately to rape. We think of bombings and refugees and government suppression. If we think of sexualized violence at all, we may imagine a faceless, powerless woman, one unfortunate person who will eventually become a statistic—400,000 raped in Rwanda, 100,000 in Guatemala. When we hear about conflicts, we don’t imagine these stories. Or we consider them to simply be part of a larger horror.

But at Women Under Siege, our mission is to show the world that each woman raped is a person who has been illegally brutalized against her will, that she is part of a family and a community that may now be shredded. We aim to show that this woman, wherever she is, matters.

As part of this mission, we’re trying something new: telling egregiously underreported stories from Syria as they happen, with as much accuracy as possible. The blurred suffering of women who have been sexually violated in the raging but opaque Syrian conflict is now being made visible on our site, WomenUnderSiegeSyria.crowdmap.com.

Users can submit reports to the website anonymously or with one’s personal information, which will not be stored on any server or posted online.

Outraged Israeli Leaders Pledge Boycott of UN Human Rights Council, Punitive Measures Against Palestinians

Sunday, March 25th, 2012

The fury sparked in Israel by the UN Human Rights Council’s passage of a resolution Thursday – which ordered a fact-finding inquiry into Israeli settlements and their infringement on the rights of Palestinians – has shown no signs of abating, as the Israeli security cabinet is set to meet Sunday afternoon to discuss possible punitive measures.

The UN body resolved “to dispatch an independent international fact-finding mission” to “investigate the implications of Israeli settlements on the…right of the Palestinian people throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including east Jerusalem.” The resolution, the first ‘fact-finding mission’ authorized by the 47-member Council, was adopted by a vote of 36 to 1, with 10 abstentions. The United States was the lone dissenter. Beyond the predictable reflexive anti-Israel votes (Kuwait, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Norway), Switzerland, Austria, and Belgium were among those that voted for the resolution. Even those countries that have stood with Israel in past UN votes (Czech Republic, Poland, Guatemala, Hungary) only managed to cast abstentions, which in UN forums is often the closest Israel can get to an expression of support.

In the same session, the Council also approved four other resolutions against Israel: on Human Rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (44 for, 1 against [USA], two abstentions [Cameroon, Guatemala]); on the Right of the Palestinian People to Self-Determination (46 for, 1 against [USA]); on the Follow-up to UN Fact-Finding Mission to Gaza (29 for, 1 against [USA], and 17 abstentions); and on Human Rights in the Occupied Syrian Golan (33 for, 1 against [USA], and 13 abstentions). All except for the last resolution were submitted by ‘Palestine’.

Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon said that Israel would not be cooperating with the Council: “We have no reason to continue cooperating with a hypocritical organization which specializes in double-speak and has a mission to smear us…We know in advance what their conclusions will be.”  Israel Radio reported that Israel is considering simply barring entry to delegates of the Council. Ayalon also warned the Palestinian Authority that it should not expect “cooperation” from Israel “while it is fighting it in international forums.”

Israel Radio also reported on Sunday that Israel was considering punitive measures against the Palestinians like suspending tax transfers and, according to a report in Yediot Ahronot, freezing an initiative to allocate 5,000 new work permits to Palestinians.

“We have many resources but we will act with discretion and will not shoot from the hip,” Ayalon responded when asked what measures Israel might take.

PM Binyamin Netanyahu responded angrily to the vote, saying the Council “should be ashamed of itself…the Council has made 91 decisions, 39 of which dealt with Israel, three with Syria and one with Iran.”

Avigdor lieberman, speaking to Israel Radio while on a visit to Singapore said, “[t]his hypocritical organization has nothing to do with human rights. Its bias and lack of objectivity are obvious…We will not be actors in this theatre of the absurd, where 70 percent of the council’s decisions are hostile to Israel.”

Lieberman continued to blast the Council on Sunday, saying: “We are considering asking free countries like the United States to withdraw from this organization.” But the US State Department quickly quashed this possibility by issuing a statement that appeared to defend the Council’s work, saying that it had “helped spur action on a series of important human rights situations around the world,” but added that the US condemns the Council’s anti-Israel bias which “continues to unnecessarily politicize the Council’s human rights agenda.”

 

 

 

 

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/israel/outraged-israeli-leaders-pledge-boycott-of-un-human-rights-council-punitive-measures-against-palestinians/2012/03/25/

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