Escalation of Mid-East War
Yemen’s Houthis, a militant rebel group partially in control of that country and backed by Iran, have launched dozens of attacks on commercial shipping vessels in the Red Sea in recent weeks in protest of Israel’s bombardment of Gaza.

Those attacks were repeatedly denounced by Western powers–but had only led to some military posturing rather than outright violence, until January 11 night.

The US and UK struck over 60 Houthi targets in Yemen in what President Joe Biden said was a “direct response to unprecedented Houthi attacks.” US Air Forces claimed Houthi “command and control nodes, munitions depots, launching systems, production facilities, and air defence radar systems” were destroyed.

The US’s actions could risk stoking regional escalation of the war in Gaza. Given that the Houthis have vowed to retaliate and that mass protests broke out in Yemen characterising the strikes as “terrorism,” they seem to have only stoked anti-US sentiment. The US is involved in a direct armed conflict with the Houthis that only benefits the Houthis as they will have leverage in discussions over the future of Yemen following a 2022 UN-brokered ceasefire in the country’s civil war.
Mohammed Huwais

“Shun EVM, Save Democracy”
India is the world’s largest democracy with regular elections. But, over the last few years, there have been serious concerns regarding the country’s electoral process due to lack of public trust in EVM/VVPAT voting and counting which does not comply with the essential ‘Democracy Principles’–that each voter should be able to verify that her vote is cast-as-intended, recorded-as-cast and counted-as-recorded. Though the Election Commission has arranged for all EVMs to be accompanied with “Voter-Verifiable Paper Trail” this device has been reduced to the level of a ‘bioscope’ which shows up a tiny ‘paper slip’ for seven seconds which then vanishes and is NOT counted….

The Citizens’ Commission on Elections, headed by a former Judge of the Supreme Court of India, after consulting top national and international experts on the subject has come to this conclusion: “Due to the absence of End-to-End verifiability, the present EVM/VVAPAT system is not verifiable and therefore is unfit for democratic elections”.

Holding elections with EVM therefore poses clear and present danger to India’s Electoral Democracy. We therefore demand that India returns to voting through ballot papers as all democracies have done so that people’s mandate is not hijacked and stolen.
Socialist Party (India)

Rally for Gaza
The South African government just urged the International Court of Justice to order an immediate ceasefire for Gaza, alleging Israel is committing genocide. But Netanyahu's government looks set to fight tooth and nail to delay a decision.

As millions of innocent people trapped in Palestine hold their breath, hoping for a quick verdict, we have an urgent mission: persuade our governments to support South Africa’s push to end the bloodshed.

Wherever you are, whatever your political views, if in the next 24 hours, we, citizens of the world, unite to unleash a cascade of national support to halt the bombing over Gaza, we have a chance to help stop what an expert UN Panel warned could be a “a genocide in the making”. It might be the last one.

Israel denies atrocity crimes against the Palestinians, saying its actions are necessary to defeat Hamas after its ruthless attack on October 7th. But there is a rising global fear that Israel’s brutal onslaught on Gaza constitutes major war crimes and even a risk of genocide. Over 23,000 Palestinians have already been killed, including reports of at least 10,000 children dead.

Now South Africa has brought a ground-breaking case to the ICJ arguing for the court to stop the war. The lawsuit, spanning 84 heartrending pages, accuses Israel of genocide, and cries out for immediate intervention. Every line screams with urgency: stop the killing, end the suffering of the Palestinian people in Gaza.

We can't let these words fall on deaf ears.

If our nations stand together, filing declarations of support for South Africa’s request to bring an end to this war, we can face down Israel’s attempt to discredit the case, and try to hasten the court’s decision to order an end of the suffering. Every second counts.

Let’s be the voice that Gaza desperately needs.

We've fought for human rights worldwide–from Sudan to Myanmar to Ukraine. Our united voices have overpowered military might before. Let’s rally again for Gaza. Let humanity, peace, compassion, and justice prevail.

With unwavering determination,
Fadi, Ruth, Patri, John, Will, Abdelrahman, Bieta, Mo, and the Avaz team

Disinformation and Hate Speech
Indians live in peculiar, hate-filled times when the climate of targeted othering, hate, segregation, and even socio-economic boycott, has reached unprecedented levels. The State, purportedly wedded to the Indian Constitution and its ideals of an egalitarian, non-discriminatory social order, has abdicated itself from its responsibility to protect all citizens, and is allegedly encouraging mobs to violate the fundamental right to a life of dignity of some of India’s most vulnerable and marginalised people.

Disinformation is false or misleading information that is spread intentionally to deceive people. It can be spread through various channels, including social media, news outlets, or spread by political leaders in their speeches. The impact of disinformation can be severe, leading to confusion, distrust, and even violence. Disinformation can also undermine democratic institutions.

Hate speech any speech that attacks a person or group on the basis of their race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexuality, or any other characteristic. It can be subtle or overt, and can have a profound impact on the targets of the speech. Hate speech can lead to stigmatisation. Societal discrimination, physical and other kinds of harassment, and violence, including gendered violence where women and children are vulnerable. Hate speech does and can create a climate of intimidation, fear and division in society.
Citizens for Justice and Peace [CJP]

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Vol 56, No. 32, Feb 4 - 10, 2024