Quote of the week

[Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro] possesses, however, few of his predecessor’s resources, lacking not just oil revenue but Chávez’s surplus of charisma, humour and political skill. Maduro, unable to end the crisis, has increasingly sided with the privileged classes against the masses; his security forces are regularly dispatched into barrios to repress militants under the guise of fighting crime. Having lost its majority in Congress, the government, fearing it can’t win at the polls the way Chávez did, cancelled gubernatorial elections that had been set for December last year (though they now appear to be on again). Maduro has convened an assembly to write a new constitution, supposedly with the objective of institutionalising the power of social movements, though it is unlikely to lessen the country’s polarisation.

Greg Grandin
London Review of Books
6 February 2011

NADEL meeting on Russel Tribunal on Palestine

The Western Cape Branch of the National Association of Democratic Lawyers (NADEL) Invites you to attend a public seminar on A briefing of the Russell Tribunal on Palestine in preparation for the Cape Town hearing in October 2011

Speaker: Senator Pierre Galand
Date: Friday, 11 February 2011
Time: 17h00-19h00
Venue: Cape Law Society Boardroom (30th floor)
ABSA Centre, 2 Riebeeck Street, Cape Town
RSVP: Waheeda Amien
(waheeda.amien@uct.ac.za, mobile: 0722922630)

Kindly RSVP by 12pm on Tuesday, 8 February 2011 for catering purposes

National Association of Democratic Lawyers
fazoe@nadel.co.za
078 514 3706
Fax: 086 602 6167
Commerce House
55 Shortmarket Street
Cape Town
8001
South Africa

Our special guest speaker is Belgian Senator Pierre Galand who will be giving a briefing on the South African leg of the “Russell Tribunal on Palestine” due to take place in Cape Town in October 2011. The “Russell Tribunal on Palestine” is an international peoples tribunal established in 1979 to promote peace, justice and stability in the Middle East. It was established in response to the lack of compliance with the ICJ’s advisory opinion on the construction of the apartheid wall in occupied Palestinian territory and the failure to implement the numerous UN resolutions since 1947, and more recently the UN resolution confirming the ICJ opinion.

Since the Israeli offensive in Gaza in December 2008 – January 2009, there has been an international outcry at the loss of civilian life, human rights violations and wanton destruction of property in the occupied territories. As a result, concerted efforts have been made by global activists to promote and protect the rights of Palestinians within the framework of international law and through civil protest.

The “Russell Tribunal on Palestine” is one such activist platform created by eminent activist and scholar Bertrand Russell and hosted by French philosopher and playwright Jean-Paul Sartre. Together they established tribunals in Vietnam, Chile,Brazil and Iraq . The tribunals are convened in various countries and comprise different sessions which focus on human rights violations, as well as aspects of “complicities and omissions by states, international organisations and corporations in the ongoing occupation of Palestinian territories by Israel and the perpetuation of the violations of international law committed by Israel.”

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