Saturday, December 24, 2005

There is hope

At times I feel I have sold out completely. Where are all those ideals and noble plans to fight for people's rights, where is that burning spirit, where is that quest for rights' advocacy...all squandered in the name of career, all lost in the prusuit of a fatter pay-check. The saddest part is that I sold myself very cheap...what was I to do?
وہ لوگ بہت خوش قسمت تھے
جو عشق کو کام سمجھتے تھے
یا کام سے عاشقی کرتے تھے
ہم جیتے جی مصروف رہے
کچھ عشق کیا کچھ کام کیا

Anyways, I am proud of Htoo Chit, one of the crazy band of HR defenders I met in Bangkok in 2003. He took the French company Total for a law-ride for the HR violations it had been carrying out againt the people of Burma/Myanmar. Here is the text of his press release:
Grassroots Human Rights Education and Development Committee (Burma)
Press Release 18/12/2005
Official Statement by Grassroots GRE on the settlement of the court case against the Total Oil Company

The French oil company Total has been operating its off-shore gas infrastructure since 1990 in Tanintaryin division in accordance with the agreement signed between the company and Burmese military junta. The large scale of human rights violations including rape, murder, torture, forced labour, forced relocation, and confiscation of land and properties has been the daily life of the vulnerable ethnic groups living in the area along the pipeline. The Total Company, the blood-supplier of the military regime, has turned a deaf ear to the complaints of Burmese people as well as to the outcry of international human rights groups for more than a decade as its only interest has been the company profit.
Grassroots HRE, a NGO promoting human rights of Burmese people, has long been collecting relevant documents, photographs, evidence and others necessary papers as proof of the human rights violations by Total's engagement over the local ethnic population. Finally, as the result of the support and encouragement of Grassroots HRE, a lawsuit against the Total Company was successfully put forth through the France judicial system in 2002. U Htoo Chit, the director of Grassroots HRE, has already given his witness testimonies in court in 2003 while two of the plaintiffs have given their accounts in court in 2004.
From the very beginning the lawsuit was aimed to obtain the compensation for the loss, destruction, and suffering caused by Total infrastructure. The lawsuit was done by the freewill of the plaintiffs and victims of the gas pipeline areas without any intervention or pressure of any Burmese political party or organizations affiliated with the party. Therefore, the acceptance or rejection of the compensation in the settlement solely depends on the free choice of those people themselves and has not been influenced by Grassroots HRE. In fact, the company's decision for the settlement is the admission of the human rights violation by Total over the innocent Burmese people.
Even though we, Grassroots HRE, have agreed principally on the final verdict of the French court, we do not give our consent to this sort of out-of-court settlement. However, we are human rights defenders and are pleased with the compensation that the victims justly deserve.
We firmly oppose any form of human rights violations over our people as well as any form of destructions of our environment. We are committed to follow up the evolution and the development of the resettlement program very closely and we are determined to stand by our vulnerable victims in all walks of life.

For every sell-out like me, there is a Htoo Chit to carry on the noble fight. And as long as we have people like him, there is hope for this world.


Saeed said...

did u notice i'd changed ur moniker some time back??its definately more apt.

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