Julian Assange should be free according to UN ruling

After nearly four years of being camped out in a converted office in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange awaited the United Nations ruling about his detention with anticipation. The verdict: Assange, according to the UN, has been “arbitrarily detained” since June 2012 given that he had not been provided due legal process prior to arrest.

The UK government disagrees. “This changes nothing,” a government representative said. “An allegation of rape is still outstanding and a European Arrest Warrant in place, so the UK continues to have a legal obligation to extradite him in Sweden.” Assange declined to respond to any allegations of sexual assault following the UN ruling, but his lawyer stated in 2010 that the charges were part of a “honeytrap” to discredit Assange.

Assange spoke to journalists via video webcast following the ruling. “I consider the outcome in this case to be vindication,” he said. “It is now the task of the United Kingdom and Sweden to implement the verdict.” He further described his detention as “illegal, immoral, [and] unethical.”

The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (UNWGAD) argued that the Wikileaks founder has suffered “deprivation of liberty” since 2010, when he was sentenced to ten days in Wandsworth Prison and then 550 days under house arrest. Edward Snowden commented on the UK’s response to the ruling, saying that it “writes a pass for every dictatorship to reject UN rulings.”

Assange agreed, saying that his arrest would be a blow to international human rights efforts. “What right does this government, or the US government, or the Swedish government have to deny my children their father for five and a half years without any charges in any country?” he asked.

Article via CNET, 5 February 2016
Photo: Julian Assange Supporters — Embassy of Ecuador, Knightsbridge, London by Marshall24  [Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs]


United Nations creates “Sustainable Development Goals”

The United Nations has created 17 Sustainable Development Goals, an action plan to solve the globe’s most important issues by 2030. Nonprofit founders, entrepreneurs, and social innovators are advocating around the world to execute the UN’s #globalgoals. One of these activists is Hera Hussain, a facilitator of workshops for MakeSense, a worldwide consortium of social entrepreneurs, and founder of the advocacy group Chayn. Hera Hussain is one of many activist and technologists considered to be “Local Globalists” as they seek solutions for the UN’s specified global problems.

Chayn’s mission is to use technology to empower women against violence and oppression. In the past, Chayn has organized hackathons to create solutions to end sexual violence in conflict zones and offered online toolkits to domestic abuse survivors so that they may be able to prepare their own legal cases. On September 25, the organization hosted a hackathon in Beirut called #PeaceHackBEY, in which technologists and activists invented solutions to social problems in Lebanon today. The hackathon occurred at a pivotal time, as anti-government protests have consumed Beirut in the past few weeks due to deficiencies in public services and resources to support the million-plus Syrian refugees currently in Lebanon.

“Tech and society are always further ahead than governments and governments are playing catch up, but we’re slowly starting to see this change,” Hussain says. “By using tech to fill gaps in access to information and justice, we can either complement efforts that governments and NGOs are already doing, or point out where they are failing.”

Article via GOOD, 22 September 2015

Photo: Brighton Digital Festival Hackathon Sponsored by iCrossing UK via iCrossing [Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs]