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Resistance - Page 8

  • Call-out for anarchists

    Virunga Mountains

    * The Venezuelan anarchist movement invites you to participate in the Alternative Social Forum at Caracas in January 2006, a gathering of anti-establishment social movements, in response to the bureaucratic World Social Forum promoted by the Venezuelan government.

    Groups and individuals from the radical, antiauthoritarian left in Venezuela are promoting an Alternative Social Forum (ASF), in parallel with the "official" (and state-managed) World Social Forum (WSF) that will take place from January 24 to 29, 2006, in Caracas. In this initiative are involved the local anarchists, including the CRA (Comision de Relaciones Anarquistas), the CESL (Centro de Estudios Sociales Libertarios), the newspaper El Libertario and similar collectives. When discussing the defining characteristics of this ASF, we insisted that it should give wide room to the anarchist proposals and experiences for social struggle, which has been widely accepted by the rest of the event promoters, since certainly they have great interest in listening and debating what we have to say.

    At the moment of writing this, the call is being made -both locally and internationally- to participate in the ASF; there is also a lot of effort being put into creating a more precise schedule, since there is a wide spectrum of movements, groups and activists -both inside and outside of Venezuela- who perceive that the official WSF is not the space for exchange, promotion and empowerment radicals aspire to. In that sense, we already envision the ASF as a space where the anarchists who participate will find not only interested listeners and the opportunity to discuss our ideas, but also a chance like no other for indirect exchange between ourselves.

    And so, we want to invite anarchists everywhere, and specially from Latin America, come to Venezuela the fourth week next January. We call upon you to participate in the ASF, which will provide us an ideal environment, not only to exchange ideas and experiences with both our own and others, but also to seize the occasion for the anarchists to have that face-to-face contact that is neccesary for a better communication and initiating joint initiatives. It must be made clear that we are not proposing an Anarchist Forum or anything like that; we only intend to promote the interaction between those who participate in the anarchist scene in this continent.

    We are open to all suggestions and comments you want to make about this initial summons, particularly about ways in which we could benefit better from this encounter of anarchists from many countries in Venezuela. We also invite you to visit the ASF webpage, to stay informed about the event, the ways in which you can participate, the proposals, and the discussions it generates.

    Free Uganda
  • The Other Campaign of Zapatista begins

    Virunga Mountains

    On January 1, 2006, the convoy that accompanied Subcomandante Insurgent Marcos departed from the Garrucha Caracol to San Cristobal de las Casas. With that marked the first step in the new Zapatista political initiative known as The Other Campaign, which hopes to forge an anti-capitalist alliance of the non-electoral Left in Mexico. The journey culminated with a public rally in the Cathedral Plaza, known as the Plaza of Resistance, where members of Zapatista Command spoke. Nearly 300 people of the Highlands region of the state of Chiapas, who have signed on to the zapatista initiative gathered with subcomandante Marcos, now called Delegate Zero, in his first day of the Other Campaign.

    To all the compañeros and compañeras of the "Other":

    To the Committees, Coordinators (or however they are called) which are being formed in each state or region in order to help with the first stage of the EZLN's Sixth Committee national work

    To the Security Committees which have been formed, or are being formed, for the accompaniment and security of SubDelegado Zero during this first stage:Compañeras and compañeros:

    Greetings from our compañeros and compañeras of the "Other." We are writing you in order to propose some criteria for security at the meetings and activities in which SubDelegado Zero will be participating.

    First - It is always better (and more effective) to avoid arrogance and grandstanding. It is not about isolating, but about accompanying and protecting. A security team is effective if it does its work without being noticed. In no way will the EZLN's Sixth Committee accept any persons on their security team who are of any nationality other than Mexican.

    Second - The work of security and accompaniment is avoiding problems due to crowds (in the unlikely event that there are any), preventing (as far as possible) any bad acts by some "anti-otra," and, most importantly, seeing that SubDelegado Zero does not get lost while going from one place to another (for example, making a "mistake," with obvious trickery, with the door when going to the bathroom and going into the "ladies" instead of the "gents").

    Third - In the event that the bad governments attempt some repressive measure, do not put up any resistance (especially if there are shots), and step aside. In no way should you put your life or liberty at risk. Always have identification with you and the help of human rights, always maintaining the truth, that is, that you are exercising a legal and legitimate civil right. You will not be violating any law by being next to an individual with a ski-mask and an elegant profile (with the contribution of the tummy).

    Fourth - In the event of detention, SubDelegado Zero knows what to do and, above all, what not to do. And so do not worry yourselves by imagining what you will do in such and such a horrible event. The response is: run, take shelter, inform, disseminate, mobilize...send me tobacco.

    I am, in advance, not authorizing anyone or any organization to assume, WITHOUT MY EXPLICIT VERBAL AND WRITTEN REQUEST, the legal defense of my person.

    Fifth - Neither the EZLN nor its Sixth Committee will be asking for any guarantees from federal, state or municipal officials. We do not expect anything, nor will we ask for anything, from those who have always treated us with contempt and disdain. If any Committee or Coordinator from a state or region decides to request from their respective officials respect for the liberties of meeting, association and movement, which are the prerogatives of any citizen, we are respectfully asking that they do so in their name, not in ours. Even if they threaten us from above or promise us detentions, jails, clandestine cellars or cemeteries, we shall go out to do the work which we committed ourselves to in the Sexta.

    Sixth - In the event of any major mishap, public statements or not, and the decisions which our organization will take, are the SOLE AND EXCLUSIVE purview of the top command level of the EZLN.

    Seventh - Whatever happens, know that it is an honor, and it shall be, to have you as compañeros and compañeras in struggle.

    From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast

    SubComandante Insurgente Marcos
    SubDelegado Zero of the Sixth Committee of the EZLN
    Mexico, December of 2005

    Compañeros, compañeras, support bases of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation, brothers and sisters of national and international civil society, good evening to everyone.

    Today it is 11:50 minutes southeastern time. Welcome to our Resistencia Hacia un Nuevo Amanecer Caracol. Once again we are joining together, men, women, boys, girls, young people and old ones, to remember and to celebrate the 12th anniversary of the armed uprising, and we are also remembering our compañeros who fell in combat in 1994. Please be so kind as to accompany us in observing a moment of silence.

    There have been 12 steps forward in building its history and making a reality of its transformation of struggle. And for 12 years we have also worked to strengthen and to build what did not exist before. Now there is hope and dignity for men, women, indigenous and non-indigenous to continue struggling with rebellion. Our Caracol of Resistance is a name of dignity, but we are the ones who give it shape. We are the ones who struggle, live and die. We are those of rebel dignity. We are the ones who built it and work it and watch over it in its growth..

    Compañeros and compañeras, EZLN support bases, for 12 years we have been resisting attacks of all kinds. They have attacked us with bullets, with torture and jail, with lies, contempt and forgetting, but here we are, and we, the most small of this land, shall continue. And here we will continue being zapatistas, even though the bad government wants to do away with our Autonomous Municipalities, which they attentively listen to and watch. They do not want what they see. This struggle has begun, and no one can stop it.

    Brothers and sisters of civil society, our hearts are made glad today to share with you, and we give you greetings of hope. It is only by being together and only as brothers that we can really respect each other and help each other, shoulder to shoulder, demonstrating to the powerful of the color of money and to those who exploit that there are many hearts in the world which are joined together, who help each other, who work united together in things they have in common, helping each other in their struggles and respecting each other's differences in order to build that new world where many worlds fit.

    The true peoples have sown different works through autonomy, and they are working like the most first peoples. When it is the new moon, as it is now, they sow, in order to yield good fruit to feed themselves, through that, for the future.

    Autonomy has allowed the peoples to build their regulatory, political, economic, social and cultural systems by themselves. We want autonomy so that we are all of value all the time, so that the one who governs, governs obeying.

    They have named their different authorities and different committees for the operation of the Autonomous Municipalities and the Good Government Junta, so they will keep working. It is not necessary to be zapatista in order to be taken care of and respected by the authorities in any part of our rebel territory. We, the zapatistas, are not going to attack anyone, not those brothers who are not zapatistas. We will be respectful with all our indigenous brothers, without regard to their organization, their party or their religion, always and as long as they respect us. The people themselves decide when to change or remove a compañero from a position, but none of the compañero authorities can receive any salary.

    Brothers and sisters, the Good Government Junta is grateful to this zapatista village, La Garrucha, to everyone, men, women, boys, girls, young people and old ones who have helped us through their great efforts in giving us this space for the gathering and who are continuing to organize more in order to move forward with our revolutionary struggle by the zapatista support base compañeros and grateful also to national and international civil society.

    Brothers and sisters, we have nothing else to give you other than our seeds of hope, other than our rebel and indigenous dignified hearts. Take them in order to continue scattering more seeds among your different peoples of the world.

    Liberty, justice and democracy.

    Viva Compañero Sup Comandante Insurgente Marcos
    Viva the EZLN.
    Vivan the peoples in resistance.
    Viva the Resistencia Hacia un Nuevo Amanecer Caracol.
    Viva national and international civil society.
    Viva the people of La Garrucha.
    Vivan the Clandestine Revolutionary Indigenous Committees.
    Vivan the compañeros fallen in combat in 1994.
    Vivan the Autonomous Municipalities in resistance.
    Viva the Sixth Declaration of the Selva Lacandona.
    Viva the Other Campaign.


    Radio Insurgente
    Giving Voice to the Voiceless

    By Deepa Fernandes

    It’s dark—the kind of profound darkness that a lack of electricity ensures in a mountainous jungle region.

    A dull pulse carries through the night of the southeastern Mexican state of Chiapas like an old woman’s heartbeat. It’s 4 a.m., and one can hear what has been a regular soundtrack at this hour for hundreds of years: a steady pounding as creased and callused brown hands massage dough for the day’s tortillas.

    And for the past year, Chiapas has greeted 4 a.m. with another soundtrack.

    Fade in crackle, which quickly disappears, replaced by a clear and youthful female voice:

    “Muy Buenos Dias.”/“A very good morning.”
    The voice is that of an insurgent fighter with the Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional (EZLN), perhaps one of the world’s quietest and most powerful rebel armies. The world knows them as the Zapatistas.

    “Estás escuchando Radio Insurgente, la voz de los sin voz./“You are listening to Radio Insurgente, the Voice of the Voiceless.”
    The voice is being relayed to nearby Zapatista autonomous communities from a makeshift and very clandestine radio studio. The Zapatistas have built egg carton-lined studios, erected transmitters and trained themselves to operate a radio station. Hundreds of years of media voicelessness ended in August 2003 with daily, 16-hour broadcasts.

    “...voz oficial del Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional.”/ “...official voice of the Zapatista National Liberation Army.”
    She is the official voice of the EZLN on the Zapatista radio network. The intimacy and immediacy of this uncensored mass communication is something that the indigenous rebel army has never before had.

    “Son las cuatro de la madrugada.”/“It’s four in the morning.”
    Zapatista time. Daybreak. Fade in Zapatista national anthem.

    The EZLN has said that access to and control of the media are vital for its community’s survival. And while successive Mexican governments have surrounded Zapatista communities with armies and allowed soldiers and paramilitaries to unleash terror on indigenous peoples, the Zapatistas have worked quietly to build the capacity to speak directly to their people. So quietly in fact, that when the Zapatista broadcasts first hit the airwaves, playing popular music and reading saludos from listeners, even government loyalists unwittingly tuned in.

    “Radio Insurgente is a radio station that is completely independent from the bad Mexican government,” explains the network’s Web site, radioinsurgente.org. This past November 17, the day the EZLN celebrated its 21st anniversary, the station launched an Internet audio version of the clandestine network. From recordings of local indigenous musicians and story-tellers to political speeches by EZLN leaders, the Internet audio archive serves as a history of Mexico’s indigenous people.

    “… transmitiendo desde algun lugar de las montanas del sureste Mexicano.”/ “… transmitting from someplace in the southeastern Mexican mountains.”
    Stories circulate about the Zapatistas’ masked leader, Subcommandante Marcos, sitting in a mud hut in the jungle writing communiqués on his newly upgraded Dell lap-top. Indeed the Zapatistas have taken full advantage of new technologies.

    Mexico’s indigenous insurgents have kept close to the ground, expanding their FM community radio reach to between two and four radio stations and teaching radio skills to young women insurgents. Zapatista division of labor assigns men the technical roles and women the programming, on-air and reporting roles.

    “Las reporteras de radio insurgente estuvieron en el lugar de los hechos. Asi que podemos transmitirles un resumen de lo que grabaron …”/ “Radio Insurgente reporters were on the spot and we bring you this summary of what we recorded …”
    Radio Insurgente reports breaking news from Zapatista and indigenous communities, blending political education with on-the-ground reporting. Take the April 10 incident this year in the community of Zinacantan, when community leaders went to see municipal authorities to demand access to potable water for their communities and were attacked en route by thugs from the Party of the Democratic Revolution. Reporters from Radio Insurgente were on the spot. They transmitted interviews with witnesses and those who were attacked about both the incident and their opinions about the revolutionary peasant leader Emiliano Zapata, whose death 85 years ago was being commemorated in Zinacantan when the attack occurred. That program is now archived on the new Web site.

    While providing information on the Zapatista struggle for autonomy and acting as a lifeline to the world, the Web site also serves as the legal arm of Radio Insurgente. It is archiving for posterity what has been broadcast to the inhabitants of the Chiapan jungles just in case the Mexican army shuts down the daily radio signal.

    Mexican broadcast law, similar to Federal Communications Commission laws in the United States, requires that one have a license to send out a radio signal. Red tape and corporate control of the media make it next to impossible for anyone to succeed in getting a license. Yet, tiny low-power wattage stations exist all over Mexico—all subject to threats and harassment by the Mexican military.

    In mid-September an indigenous station in the neighboring state of Oaxaca was violently raided by some 200 soldiers and police. Equipment was seized and destroyed, and 14 people were arrested.

    Fear of reprisal, however, has not daunted the Zapatistas. Programming has blossomed. The new Web site makes hour-long news specials available for radio stations to download and play. It features public service announcements that educate the public about violence against women and advertise upcoming programs like a special on Che Guevara. The Web site also archives speeches and communiqués by EZLN leaders, blending everything with Zapatista liberation songs and local music.

    “Este programa va dirijido a todos los campesinos y tambien a los indigenas que luchan por una vida major.”/“This program is dedicated to all the farmers and indigenous people who are fighting for a better world.”
    By adding to the thriving landscape of independent media in Mexico, Radio Insurgente is fulfilling a long-held dream of El Sup (Marcos), who once noted that “independent media tries to save history—today’s history—tries to save it and tries to share it so it will not disappear.” One wonders if Marcos had any idea back in 1997 when he issued this communiqué that a Zapatista-controlled, internationally accessible public audio archive of its people’s history was only a few years away.

    “Ahora vamos a escuchar a Mercedes Sosa que nos canta Alcen la Bandera. …”/ “Now let’s listen to Mercedes Sosa singing ‘Alcen la Bandera.’ …”
    Some worry that the Mexican government may try to shut down the Web site and the radio stations. The insurgent women who are responsible for the bulk of the programming, whose voices grace the airwaves from 4 a.m. through the night, realize the signal could be squelched at any moment. But for now, with the eyes and ears of the world drinking in the MP3 sounds of Radio Insurgente, it seems like the Fox government may have missed its chance to silence the voiceless.

    “Mucho animos para sus trabajos y que pasa una buena noche.”/ “Keep up your spirits in your work and have a good night.”

    Free Uganda
  • Uganda Elections 2006

    Virunga Mountains

    Free Uganda
  • M7 should be in prison - Besigye

    Virunga Mountains

    Dr. Kiiza Besigye says it should have been president Museveni in prison and not him.

    Besigye has told journalists during a press conference at his residence in Mbuya that President Museveni’s was convicted by the International Court of Justice for illegally entering and plundering Congo.

    He adds that his detention was political intended to stop him from running for presidency.

    Besigye and Ssebaana have also hinted on a possibility for the opposition to front a sole candidate to run against president Museveni in the presidential race.

    Ssebaana had paid Dr. Besigye a courtesy call while he addressed the press at his residence in Mbuya.

    Ssebaana says discussions are going on for the opposition to have a sole presidential candidate.
    Meanwhile Dr. Kizza Besigye is headed for Kayunga district where he is going to address his maiden rally since his release from prison yesterday.

    Free Uganda
  • Besigye back on the road

    Virunga Mountains

    KAMPALA, 2 Jan 2006 (IRIN) - Ugandan opposition leader Kizza Besigye, who is charged with treason and rape, was freed on bail on Monday after the High Court in Kampala ruled that his continued detention was illegal.

    "The accused should be released forthwith unless he is being held on other charges," John Katutsi, the High Court judge, said.

    He said the defence's argument that Besigye faced separate terrorism and possession of weapons charges before a military tribunal could not be used as an excuse to keep him in prison.

    Besigye, 49, was released soon after the woman he allegedly raped in 1997 testified against him.

    He was driven out of the court compound accompanied by his wife, Winnie, as a crowd of his supporters ululated and sang in his praise. The police had earlier used tear gas to disperse a crowd that tried to gather outside the court house.

    Besigye, who heads the opposition Forum for Democratic Change, is widely seen as President Yoweri Museveni's main challenger in presidential elections scheduled for February.

    Besigye, Museveni's former doctor, was arrested in mid-November three weeks after returning to Uganda from four years of self-imposed exile in South Africa where he fled after losing the presidential elections to Museveni in 2001. He claimed then that his life was in danger.

    Free Uganda
  • uganda Elections 2006

    Virunga Mountains

    Museveni a coward – Byanyima
    David Mafabi
    Ms Winnie Byanyima, wife of detained FDC leader Kizza Besigye, has described President Yoweri Museveni as a coward who even fears his own shadow.
    She has also accused the NRM leaders of being perennial liars and thieves. Byanyima was speaking at an FDC campaign here on Friday.

    She said: “The ongoing intimidation, harassment and imprisonment of opposition members shows that Museveni is a coward who fears even his own shadow. How do you fear fighting a person whose hands are tied up? This shows that Museveni, on a politically level ground can’t compete favourably and take the day.”

    Byanyima added: “This is a government of liars and thieves. For sure, how do you steal Global Fund money meant for fighting Malaria, TB and HIV/Aids at the expense of the patients for your own selfish interests? How do you go to Congo to protect Ugandans and plunder and loot?”
    The cheering crowd kept shouting agende, agende (Let him – Museveni – go).

    Byanyima said she was not shaken by Besigye’s imprisonment. “I have not shed a tear about it, because Besigye’s imprisonment has opened the eyes of most Ugandans that we are all prisoners.” She said Ugandans had been imprisoned in abject poverty, IDP camps, poor education, the LRA war and poor health.

    Bugweri MP Abdu Katuntu said whereas Museveni described him as poisonous mushroom, he (Katuntu), had discovered that “Museveni is like a jigger that is eating up Ugandans.” Katuntu urged Ugandans to get rid of him. He dismissed claims that Museveni is the only one who had a vision, adding that many Ugandans, including him [Katuntu] were more educated than Museveni - and better placed to lead thecountry.

    The FDC chairman, Dr Sulaiman Kigundu, amused the crowd by remarking:
    “It is finished, the man has gone Besigye like Kwame Nkrumah, Nelson Mandela and the late Jomo Kenyatta will come from jail and walk to state house.”

    Free Uganda
  • Africa's Top War Criminal still at large!

    Virunga Mountains

    Yoweri Museveni is responsible for the death of 5.5 million africans- from Uganda, Rwanda,Sudan and Congo DRC. The people of Uganda and the world believe very strongly that Yoweri Museveni should be arrested as soon as possible. We also call upon the international community to impose a travel burn on Yoweri Museveni and his squard of killers. 

    "Justice in northern Uganda requires that the ICC thoroughly examine UPDF abuses of the civilian population as well as abuses by the LRA. The willful killings, torture and mistreatment, rape and arbitrary arrests and detention of civilians by UPDF soldiers highlighted in this report are serious crimes that may fall within the ICC’s jurisdiction.The ICC has jurisdiction over war crimes particularly when committed as part of a policy or plan or on a large scale.

    The government remains responsible for many of the hardships and abuses endured by the displaced population. Since 1996 the government has used the army to undertake a massive forced displacement of the population in the north and imposed severe restrictions on freedom of movement. While justifying the displacements on grounds of security, the government has forcibly displaced people without a lawful basis under international law and then has failed to provide the promised security. Many of those displaced, including almost the entire population of the three Acholi districts live in squalid conditions in displaced persons camps that are susceptible to LRA attacks. The Ugandan army has failed to protect these camps, compounding the harm inflicted by the original forced displacement."

    Museveni's criminal army has continued to abuse ugandans with impunity see report

    Free Uganda
  • Uganda top war criminal still at large

    Virunga Mountains

    Yoweri Museveni is responsible for the death of 5.5 million africans- from Uganda, Rwanda,Sudan and Congo DRC. The people of Uganda and the world believe very strongly that Yoweri Museveni should be arrested as soon as possible. We also call upon the international community to impose a travel burn on Yoweri Museveni and his squard of killers. 

    "Justice in northern Uganda requires that the ICC thoroughly examine UPDF abuses of the civilian population as well as abuses by the LRA. The willful killings, torture and mistreatment, rape and arbitrary arrests and detention of civilians by UPDF soldiers highlighted in this report are serious crimes that may fall within the ICC’s jurisdiction.The ICC has jurisdiction over war crimes particularly when committed as part of a policy or plan or on a large scale.

    The government remains responsible for many of the hardships and abuses endured by the displaced population. Since 1996 the government has used the army to undertake a massive forced displacement of the population in the north and imposed severe restrictions on freedom of movement. While justifying the displacements on grounds of security, the government has forcibly displaced people without a lawful basis under international law and then has failed to provide the promised security. Many of those displaced, including almost the entire population of the three Acholi districts live in squalid conditions in displaced persons camps that are susceptible to LRA attacks. The Ugandan army has failed to protect these camps, compounding the harm inflicted by the original forced displacement."

    Museveni's criminal army has continued to abuse ugandans with no impunity see report

    Free Uganda
  • Uganda women to be traded by UK & Uganda governments

    Virunga Mountains

    One very ill and weak woman was taken on a 12-hour journey to Dungavel Detention Centre in Scotland, where she remains on hunger strike. Other women, including spokeswoman Harriet Anyangokolo, have been released having at
    last secured legal representation and the opportunity to get their case reconsidered as a result of their protest. But at least two women have been deported, one of whom was stopped by corrupt immigration officials in Uganda demanding she give them all her money or they would hand her over to the police. She is now in hiding. There has been no contact
    with the other woman. The Home Office refuses to take any
    responsibility for monitoring the safety of those it returns.

    Ms Anyangokolo comments: 'There are 250 of us, cooped up in terrible conditions. Some of us have children with us, some have left them behind, and others are mothers as a result of rape. We are innocent women and children whose rights are being violated. Many of us are ill as a result of torture, some are HIV+ and some are so depressed they have tried to commit suicide. After all we have suffered the British government still wants to deport us back to war zones and the dictators we opposed, denying us protection and safety. They dump us in detention centres where we suffer again from poor medical attention, bad food, harassment and sexual intimidation by male staff, false accusations and racism causing us more trauma. We have been denied the opportunity to make our claims properly through cuts in legal aid, negligent or even corrupt lawyers, and racism and sexism in decisions refusing our claims.

    Some of us have been forced onto planes with the most appalling brutality and regardless of the justice of our claim. Women are continuing to fight for our rights and against deportation – we deserve safe accommodation not imprisonment, because we are not criminals, we
    are simply asylum seekers who deserve protection under international law. It would be better to die in a British rather than a Ugandan detention centre.'

    The government is determined to deport those it labels 'failed asylum seekers' no matter how unjustly. There is widespread recognition that the legal representation available to asylum seekers is deficient and in some cases corrupt. The cases below illustrate how these deficiencies are life threatening for women asylum seekers who are routinely imprisoned - against UNHCR and the government's own guidelines - and
    threatened with deportation. As a result of their public protest, most of the women have now secured legal representation. The threat of removal should be lifted and all the women should be released immediately whilst their cases are reconsidered.

    For more information contact: Legal Action for Women

    Crossroads Women’s Centre PO Box 287 London NW6 5QU

    Tel: 020 7482 2496 minicom/voice Fax: 020 7209 4761; Mob: 079291 38554

    E-mail: law@crossroadswomen.net

    Ms Gloria Chalimpa (HO Ref: C1117339/3 Port Ref: SEV/02/5277) has been in detention since 24 June 2005 and is due to be deported on 22 September. She suffered years of repeated rape from the age of six, when the Lords Resistance Army (LRA) killed her parents and abducted her. She was trained as a child soldier how to fight and use guns. She was sold to a 'sponsor', who also raped her and later arranged for her
    to study in the UK. On a visit back to Uganda she was arrested and imprisoned for kissing another woman in a nightclub. She managed to escape and returned to the UK. But when she claimed asylum she was put on the 'fast-track' procedure and detained in Yarl's Wood. The fast-track system, which is claimed to be only used for 'straight
    forward' cases, drastically reduces the time to prepare an asylum claim, denying women like Ms Chalimpa’s access to independent legal representation and other expert support upon which their lives depend.

    Ms Chalimpa's case was refused and she had to appeal without legal representation. Her lawyer said that there was insufficient likelihood of her winning her case to justify applying for legal aid. Her appeal was refused and she is now too ill to ask for reconsideration of her case, which is her right, and as a result her case was closed. Ms Chalimpa has a one year old daughter born in the UK whom she has not seen since being detained, compounding her depression and she has
    attempted suicide several times, including on Monday of this week when she was found trying to hang herself in the laundry room in Yarl’s Wood. She has no memory of what happened and is now on constant suicide watch. We are urgently trying to find her legal representation.

    Ms Madina Irimeri (HO Ref: G 1121198/2 Port ref: AFC/561670) has been detained for three months in the UK and is due to be deported on 20 September. She was detained in military barracks in Uganda where she suffered rape and other torture. The Home Office refused to believe her account when she claimed asylum. Ms Irimeri's lawyer failed to keep her
    informed of what was being done on her case, and she never saw what was submitted to the authorities. No expert report was commissioned by her lawyer for her appeal hearing to document Ms Irimeri's account of her experiences and investigate their impact on her. An affidavit she had got from Uganda confirming her account was dismissed by the adjudicator because it was a fax. She has obtained an original of this document but it is not clear whether her lawyers have even submitted this. She nowhas a new lawyer who is pursuing her claim.

    Ms Charity Mutebwa (HO Ref: M1210512 Port Ref: CEU570884) has been detained for three months and is on the 32nd day of her hunger strike. She was taken to Uganda after her Rwandan parents were slaughtered in the genocide of 1994. As supporters of an opposition party her husband
    and brother were killed and she was detained, where she was repeatedly gang raped by government soldiers. She escaped and fled to the UK but her her account of her experiences was dismissed by the Home Office and the courts. Her case was badly handled by her legal representatives – she later discovered the person representing her was a translator not a
    solicitor. The firm then claimed to have no knowledge of her case and that they did not have her documents, so she could not get another solicitor to pursue her claim. Her deportation should have been stopped when a new solicitor issued legal proceedings the day before she was due to go. But she was still taken to Heathrow airport. It was only when she insisted on calling her lawyer that the Home Office who confirmed
    she should not be deported. Ms Mutebwa was extremely weak and sick from her hunger strike but instead of returning to Yarl’s Wood, she was taken on a gruelling 12-hour journey to Dungavel Detention Centre in Scotland, locked in a small cell within the prison van. Ms Mutebwa’s new lawyer is pursuing her asylum claim.

    Ms Grace Namanda (HO ref: N1075891 Port ref: MEU/03/3636) has been held in Yarl’s Wood for the past three months. She was diagnosed as being HIV+ and fell ill while in the UK. She claimed asylum as the treatment upon which her life depends is not available in Uganda. Although she
    won her case on human rights grounds, the Home Office appealed the decision claiming the treatment she needed was available and free in Uganda. Ms Namanda's husband, father and siblings have all died because they did not get the treatment they needed. Her sister is her only remaining adult relative and is raising ten children, of whom five are orphans, but has no income. They have been depending on whatever Ms Namanda managed to send from her meager NASS support which has been stopped, so she is now extremely worried about them.

    Recent press coverage has exposed how aid money meant to be funding HIV/AIDs treatment has 'disappeared'. Experts have also challenged the authenticity of the government statistics on the availability and effectiveness of its treatment programmes, which the UK authorities have been citing. Having very recently secured legal representation, Ms
    Namanda has started taking a little fruit and vegetables as she was becoming too ill to pursue her case.

    Ms Sophie Odogo (HO Ref: O1086410/2) was detained on 17 May 2005 and has been in Bedford Hospital since Sunday, where we have not been able to speak with her because she is too weak. She fled to the UK after a relative helped her escape detention in Uganda, where she suffered repeated rape and other torture. She was detained the day after her asylum interview. The Home Office said they did not believe her
    account, citing her lack of knowledge about her husband's political activities. No expert evidence investigating and assessing the traumatic impact of her experiences was commissioned by her lawyer. Her account of rape was dismissed by the adjudicator at her appeal and her application for Judicial Review was refused. She has a new lawyer who
    is pursuing her case.

    Ms Enid Ruhango (HO ref: R1095499 Port ref: LBE/393901) was detained on 17 May and has also been in Bedford Hospital after she collapsed in Yarl’s Wood on Sunday. She was raped by Ugandan soldiers looking for her husband who was in the LRA, and again when she was taken into
    detention. She was raped again by the man who brought her to the UK. She is HIV positive. Again no expert evidence was commissioned by her lawyer to document her experiences and needs. The Home Office and the adjudicator at her appeal dismissed her account claiming the availability of free HIV/AIDs treatment in Uganda. She too has found a new lawyer through the help of Alistair Birt MP, who has been intervening in the women’s cases.

    Ms Salima Sekindi (HO ref: S1060767 Port ref: EDD/00/9612) is on the 32nd day of hunger strike. She was detained on 30 May 2005 and is due to be deported on 13/14 September. Ms Sekindi fled from Uganda after being raped by members of the security forces who came to her home looking for her husband, who was involved in the opposition. After she made her initial asylum application she never heard again from her
    lawyer despite her numerous phone calls and faxes. It was only when she was picked up and taken into detention that she found out that the Home Office had refused her case. She found out that her appeal hearing had gone ahead without her knowledge and without her lawyer present. She has now found a new lawyer to pursue her case.

    Since Legal Action for Women issued an asylum rights Self-Help Guide* in June, Black Women’s Rape Action Project and Women Against Rape have been inundated with calls from women in detention. Vulnerable and traumatized women are being forced onto planes with the most appalling brutality and regardless of the validity of their claim.

    There is no doubt that these women will be even more vulnerable in Uganda having spoken out about the torture they suffered. Please help save the hunger strikers. Your calls/letters could be decisive. Send us a copy of anything you write to the Home Office.

    Free Uganda