Resolutions Passed by the Assembly of Delegates of International PEN Meeting at its 76th Congress in Tokyo
19 Nov 2010
2. China – Uyghur
6. Iran – Kurdish
8. Mexico – Killings
12. South Africa
13. Sri Lanka
15. Turkey – Kurdish
18. Viet Nam
19. Recommendation for Change of Name to PEN International
20. Recommendation for review of Congresses
21. Recommendation on Auditors
1. Resolution on China
The Assembly of Delegates of International PEN meeting at its 76th Congress in Tokyo, Japan, 25 September – 1 October, 2010, Welcomes the releases of ZHANG Jianhong, WANG Rongqing, LI Zhi, WEI Zhenling, and Fan Yanqiong either on medical parole or due to the reduction of their sentences, since the last Congress of International PEN in October 2009.
Considering the continuous suppression of the right to freedom of expression throughout China, from its capital city of Beijing to the inland province of Sichuan and Henan, to the costal province of Guangdong and Fujian, to the Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macao, the Autonomous Regions of Tibet, Xinjiang Uyghur, and Inner Mongolia.
Alarmed by the relentless harassment of and attacks against Chinese intellectuals, particularly the arbitrary arrests of Internet writers and journalists, over 40 of whom are currently imprisoned, making China one of the largest jailers of writers and journalists in the world.
Disturbed by the continuous use of administrative detention, including the infamous “Re-education Through Labour” (RTL) system, to jail dissident writers for up to 3 years without the due process guaranteed under its own laws. For instance, LUO Yongquan, a freelance writer and poet in Guangdong Province, was sentenced to two years RTL for two poems which authorities alleged attacked the Communist party and government and which were broadcast overseas.
Further Disturbed by the increasing misuse of China’s Criminal Law to arbitrarily charge dissident writers, outspoken journalists and independent publishers with criminal offences to suppress freedom of expression and the press, in particular “endangering the social/national security”, “(inciting) subversion of state power”, “illegally holding/leaking state secrets” and “illegal business practices”, and charging with criminal defamation those who criticise government institutions and accuse officials of corruption and injustice, leading to sentences of up to 3-years’ imprisonment.
Worried about the growing censorship of the Internet throughout the country, in which thousands of websites are blocked, popular Chinese Internet forums discussing sensitive issues closed, and online writers and journalists harassed and imprisoned for their publication of critical reports and commentaries on overseas websites, including the sentencing of HUANG Qi (3 years), and TAN Zuoren (5 years), Hailaite Niyazi (aka Hairat or Gheyret Niyazi (15 years) as well as the prosecutions and trials of HUANG Xiaomin, LIU Yonggen, and ZUO Xiaohuan.
Shocked by the increasing persecution of Independent Chinese PEN Centre (ICPC) members, including the ongoing imprisonment of SHI Tao (10 years), YANG Tongyan (12 years) and DU Daobin (3 years), and especially and most recently Dr. LIU Xiaobo, former and Honorary President who was sentenced to 11 years’ imprisonment on Christmas Day, 2009; the interrogation, harassment, threats, attacks, brief detentions, meeting and travel restrictions, passport rejections, and the work and life interruptions of more than 50 members, including ZHAO Shiying, Board Member and Secretary-general who was detained for two weeks in January 2010 and who is still unable to travel.
International PEN therefore urges the government of the People’s Republic of China to:
Stop the harassment and persecution of ICPC members, and lift all restrictions on their freedom to exit and enter mainland China, particularly to attend International PEN conferences and to return home;
Cease its efforts to censor cyberspace and to immediately release all Internet writers jailed for peacefully expressing their opinions;
Release all prisoners in the autonomous regions of Tibet, Xinjiang Uyghur and Inner Mongolia who have been detained in violation of their right to freedom of expression, including Tibetan writers and journalists Dawa Gyaltsen, Dolma Kyab, Kunchok Tsephel, Paljor Norbu, Tashi Rabten, and Kunga Tseyang, Uighur writers Abdulghani Memetemin, Nurmuhemmet Yasin, Mehbube Ablesh and Hailait Niyazi (aka Hairat or Gheyret Niyazi), and Mongolian writer Hada; Release all imprisoned writers and journalists in China, including LIU Xiaobo, SHI Tao, YANG Tongyan, DU Daobing, HUANG Jinqiu, ZHENG Yichun, KONG Youping, XU Zerong, XU Wei, JIN Haitao, LU Jianhua, WANG Xiaoning, YANG Maodong, LU Gengsong, HU Jia, QI Chonghai, CHEN Daojun, YUAN Xianchen, ZHANG Qi, HUANG Qi, and TAN Zuoren.
Ratify the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which was signed by the People’s Republic of China in October 1998;
Engage in a complete and meaningful reform of the Chinese legal system in accordance with international standards and its own Constitution to guarantee fair trials, the full rights of defence and appeal, the legal practices of attorneys, and a prison system that ensures the health and safety of inmates; particularly to cease the practice of using the charge of “subversion” against writers and of “holding/leaking state secrets” against journalists; and to abandon the infamous RTL system.
2. Resolution on China – Uyghurs
The Assembly of Delegates of PEN International, meeting at its 76th Congress in Tokyo, Japan, from 25 September to 1 October, 2010;
Deeply troubled by reports that Uyghur writer Nurmuhemmet Yasin, held at Urumqi No. 1 Prison, has been tortured in prison and is not allowed visitors;
Alarmed by the lack of information about his health, particularly in the light of an unconfirmed report that he had died in prison;
Further concerned by the arrest in August 2008 of Uyghur journalist Mehbube Ablesh (f) and the lack of any information since then about her whereabouts, situation and any charges brought against her;
Calls on the central government of the People’s Republic of China and the regional government of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) to provide assurances about Nurmuhemmet Yasin’s health and any medical treatment he is receiving as a matter of urgency;
Seeking clarification of the current status of journalist Mehbube Ablesh, immediate information about her whereabouts, and full details of any charges and sentence against her;
Urges the Chinese government to ensure that writers Nurmuhemmet Yasin and Mehbube Ablesh are not mistreated in custody, and have full access to family and medical care.
Calling for the immediate and unconditional release of all writers held arbitrarily in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Republic (XUAR), including Nurmuhemmet Yasin and Mehbube Ablesh, in accordance with Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) to which China is a signatory.
3. Resolution on Cuba
The Assembly of Delegates of PEN International meeting at its 76th Congress in Tokyo, Japan, 25 September – 1 October, 2010
Acknowledges the recent release by the Cuban government of a number of prisoners of conscience, including 18 writers, independent journalists and librarians detained since the 2003 ‘Black Spring’ crackdown and serving long-term prison sentences on anti-state charges; welcomes, too, reports that the Cuban government has promised to free all dissidents imprisoned since the 2003 crackdown in the coming months;
Deeply concerned however that the recently freed writers, journalists and librarians have been deported from Cuba and sent to other countries, mainly Spain, apparently as a precondition of their release.
Outraged because these releases happened only after a 85-day hunger strike by imprisoned dissident Orlando Zapata Tamayo, which lead to his death; a life-threatening hunger strike by journalist Guillermo Fariñas, and attacks on members of the Ladies in White, a peaceful movement calling for the release of their relatives who have been unfairly jailed;,
Alarmed because the ‘Black Spring’ prisoners are not the only prisoners of conscience being held in reportedly poor conditions, including being housed with common prisoners and a lack of proper food and medical attention, and because the Cuban government has reportedly continued to arrest, detain and harass writers, independent journalists and civil society activists since the releases;
Worried because the government of Cuba, in contravention of Article 12 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), denies writers and journalists who have been granted international awards permission to travel abroad, for example Yoani Sánchez, who received the Maria Moors Cabot Award in 2009, and Bernardo Arévalo Padrón, former prisoner of conscience and independent journalist who was granted the Barbara Goldsmith Award by the American PEN Centre of New York in 2003;
Requests the immediate and unconditional liberation of all prisoners of conscience jailed before, during and since the ‘Black Spring’, including the following four writers detained since March 2003 under Law 88 and/ or Article 91 of the Penal Code:
1. Pedro ARGÜELLES MORÁN, director of the Cooperative of Independent Avileña Journalists (Cooperativa Avileña de Periodistas Independientes, CAPI), Ciego de Ávila. Sentence: 20 years. Charge: Law 882. Iván HERNÁNDEZ CARRILLO, journalist (Agencia Patria news agency) and librarian (Juan Gualberto Gómez Library). Sentence: 25 years. Charge: Law 88. 3. Héctor Fernando MASEDA GUTIÉRREZ, independent journalist, author and president of the Cuban Liberal Party (Partido Liberal Cubano). Sentence: 20 years. Charge: Law 88 and Article 914. Blas Giraldo REYES RODRÍGUEZ, librarian (20 de Mayo Library, Sancti Spiritus) and member of the steering committee of the pro-democracy Varela Project, Sancti Spíritus. Sentence: 25 years. Charge: Law 88
And also, among others, the following three journalists arrested since 2006, on “disrespect” or “social dangerousness” charges:
5. Albert Santiago DU BOUCHET HERNÁNDEZ: director and reporter of the Havana-based independent news agency Habana Press. Sentence: 3 years. Charge: “disrespect for authority”6. Raymundo PERDIGÓN BRITO, founder of independent news agency Yayabo Press, Sancti Spíritus. Sentence: 4 years. Charge: Article 72 of the Penal Code (“social dangerousness”)7. Ramón VELÁZQUEZ TORANSO: journalist for the independent news agency Libertad. Sentence: 3 years. Charge: Article 72 of the Penal Code
PEN International therefore urges the government of Cuba to:
Effect the immediate and unconditional release of the seven writers, journalists and librarians still detained for their writings in violation of Article 19 of the ICCPR, which Cuba signed in February 2008;
Respect the right of these writers and their families to remain in Cuba should they so wish, as guaranteed by Article 12 of the ICCPR;
Also respect the right of the writers and their families who have been released into exile to return to Cuba, and that of all Cuban writers to enjoy freedom of movement and to travel freely to other countries, as guaranteed by Article 12 of the ICCPR;
Refrain from arresting and harassing writers, independent journalists and activists engaged in reporting and other peaceful political or other activities;
Repeal Law 88, Articles 91 and 72 of the Penal Code, and all other legislation used to imprison and otherwise harass writers, in line with international standards relating to the right to freedom of thought, expression and association, notably the ICCPR.
4. Resolution on Eritrea
The Assembly of Delegates of PEN International, meeting at its 76th International Congress in Tokyo, Japan, 25 September – 1 October 2010
At the 75th PEN International Congress in Linz, Austria, 19-25 October 2009, a resolution on Eritrea proposed by Swedish PEN was accepted by the Assembly of Delegates. Since then the situation in Eritrea has continued to deteriorate. No progress has been made in the case of Mr Dawit Isaak and his fellow journalists, who together with a number of opposition politicians are being held at Eira Eiro prison camp and other places of detention with extremely harsh regimes.
According to some news reports in May 2010, only 20 out of the original 35 political prisoners held at Eira Eiro are still alive. Swedish PEN wishes to submit an updated resolution on Eritrea, which reinforces that of last year with an important addition, as follows: Dawit Isaak is a Swedish-Eritrean journalist, writer and playwright, born in Eritrea in 1964, who came to Sweden as a refugee from the war in 1987 and became a Swedish citizen in 1992. When Eritrea gained independence in 1993, Dawit Isaak returned to his native country and became a part-owner of the country’s first independent newspaper, Setit. Dawit Isaak was arrested on 23 September 2001 together with a number of other journalists and writers. His newspaper had published a protest letter against the politics of Isaias Afewerki, President of Eritrea, signed by 12 politicians who were critical of the regime. At least four of the journalists who were arrested together with Dawit Isaak are believed to have died of the hardships in prison.
PEN International, in line with its resolution of 2009, and concerned by the reports of deaths and lack of medical treatment at the prison camps where Dawit Isaak and his colleagues are being held, Calls on the Eritrean authorities, in accordance with international agreements, to allow a delegation of medical staff, preferably from the International Red Cross, to visit the prisoners, giving them necessary treatment and assessing their health status. In accordance with the resolution of 2009, PEN International Also calls for the immediate and unconditional release of Dawit Isaak and the at least 15 other Eritreans also imprisoned for their writings since 2001.
5. Resolution on Honduras
The Assembly of Delegates of PEN International meeting at its 76th Congress in Tokyo, Japan, 25 September – 1 October 2010,
Deeply concerned that since the coup against President Manuel Zelaya on 28 June 2009 there has been an increasing number of killings of broadcast journalists: one in July 2009 and nine in 2010 to date (compared to two murders between 2000 and 2008);
Also noting that harassment of and threats against both local and foreign journalists have become the rule rather than the exception;
Further concerned that the investigations into the recent murders have reportedly stalled;
Alarmed by the impunity of the crimes committed against journalists since June 2009;
Calls on the government of President Porfirio Lobo to ensure that thorough and impartial investigations into these murders are conducted and that those responsible are brought to trial.
The murders of the following journalists since 1 January 2010 demonstrate the serious nature of the situation in Honduras:
Joseph HERNÁNDEZ OCHOA, a journalism student at the University of Honduras, and a former entertainment presenter on Canal 51 TV station, was travelling with fellow journalist Karol Cabrera on 1 March 2010 when their car was fired on 36 times by men in another vehicle on an unlit road. Ochoa died at the scene, after being shot more than 20 times in the chest. Cabrera, believed to be the main target of the attack, and who had received several death threats, suffered a broken arm and ribs. She was granted asylum in Canada in June.David MEZA MONTESINOS, a reporter at radio station El Patio for more than 30 years, was killed while driving home in the coastal city of La Ceiba on 11 March 2010. His car was shot at from another vehicle, causing Meza to lose control and crash into a house. According to local sources, Meza had received death threats three weeks before the shooting for his coverage of drug traffickers. Nahúm PALACIOS ARTEAGA, the news director for television channel Canal 5 in Aguán and host of a news programme on Radio Tocoa, was shot dead in Tocoa, Colón, in northern Honduras, on 14 March 2010. According to local media reports, the car was riddled with 42 bullet holes. Another person travelling in the car with him was severely wounded, and a cameraman riding in the back was grazed by a bulletJosé BAYARDO MAIRENA and Manuel JUÁREZ, journalists for RZ Television Channel 4 and Radio Excélsior, were driving from the city of Catacamas on 26 March 2010 after hosting a radio programme when their vehicle was ambushed by unidentified gunmen near Juticalpa in the eastern province of Olancho. The gunmen reportedly sprayed the car with bullets then shot the journalists at close range.Luis Antonio CHÉVEZ HERNÁNDEZ, presenter at Radio W105, was gunned down in San Pedro Sula, the country’s business capital, on 11 April 2010. Chévez and a cousin were getting out of a car outside Chévez’s house when they were shot by unidentified gunmen, who fled the scene. Although it was not confirmed that Chévez was murdered for his work, the police ruled out robbery, as a sizable sum of money was found in the victims’ belongings.Jorge Alberto ORELLANA, host of the program ‘En Vivo con Georgino’ at private local television station Televisión de Honduras, was leaving his office in San Pedro Sula on 22 April 2010 after his show when he was shot once in the head by an unidentified gunman, who then fled on foot. Luis Arturo MONDRAGÓN, head of Canal 19 TV station and TV presenter, was shot dead by two gunmen as he left the Canal 19 studios in Santa Clara de Danlí, outside the capital Tegucigalpa, on 14 June 2010. Israel ZELAYA DÍAZ, journalist for Radio Internacional, was found dead on a rural road near San Pedro Sula on 24 August 2010. He had been shot three times in the head and chest. The motive for the murder was not known but neither his money nor his personal belongings had been taken, suggesting that it was not a robbery.
Further calls on the Honduran government to take measures to protect journalists, writers and the media and ensure their ability to exercise their profession freely, as recognised in the Honduran Constitution and in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and guaranteed under Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights as well as under Article 13 of the Inter-American Convention on Human Rights which have both been signed and ratified by Honduras.
6. Resolution on Iran – Kurdish Issues
The Assembly of Delegates of PEN International, meeting at its 76th Congress in Tokyo, Japan, 25 September – 1 October 2010,
Condemns the 9 May 2010 execution of five Kurdish activists including teacher and writer Farzad Kamangar, in gross violation of Iranian law as well as international standards of fairness. Alarmed at the number of Kurdish journalists and writers targeted for their critical reporting, peaceful activism and writings in support of minority cultural and political rights, and appalled at the use of the death penalty in such cases. Seriously concerned for the health of journalist and writer Muhamad Sediq Kaboudvand, founder and head of Human Rights Organisation of Kurdistan in Iran, who was reported in mid-July 2010 to be critically ill in prison. Kaboudvand is currently serving an 11-year prison term in Evin prison in Iran for his human rights activities and for publishing a book on the rights of women in Iran. Alarmed by the ill treatment of political prisoners, specially imprisoned woman and children and the extensive violations of human rights all over Iran, especially in the Kurdish region of Iran, Shocked by the fact that during May/June 2010, one year after the controversial Presidential election of 2009, Human Rights News Agency, has registered an unbelievable ratio of at least 157 624 cases of violation of human rights, among them, 2 cases of death penalties, 1 150 cases of arbitrary arrests, 190 cases of violation against political prisoners, an additional 127 cases of detentions and at least 46 cases of abuses against national minorities.Alarmed by the Iranian authorities’ treatment of journalists and writers publishing in Kurdish or related to Kurds, who face harassment, arbitrary detention and flawed trials. Recurrent prosecutions are used to intimidate writers who speak out against the authorities. Profoundly disturbed about Iran`s practice of article 188 /1992 of the country`s criminal law, that considers the members, supporters and followers of any Kurdish political parties as “Mufsed fee Al Arz, corrupted on earth” and “evil” who must be punished by hanging and execution.
PEN International calls upon the Iranian authorities to:
To stop executing Kurdish prisoners of conscience, ratify the First Optional Protocol to the ICCPR (International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights) providing for the abolition of the death penalty in line with the growing trend in international law.
Fulfill its obligations to Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Iran is a signatory, by immediately and unconditionally releasing all those currently detained in Iran for peacefully exercising their right to free expression.
Respect the right to freedom of expression, as required by international law including Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).
7. Resolution on Iran
The Assembly of Delegates of PEN International, meeting at its 76th International Congress in Tokyo, Japan, 25th September-1st October 2010,
More than one year after the mass protests against the result of the presidential election in the Islamic Republic of Iran, the political and social climate remains extremely tense. The government which sees its legitimacy seriously questioned continues to use violence and intimidation to suppress critical voices. Since 13 June 2009 scores of threatened journalists, authors and bloggers have been harassed, arrested or forced into exile. There have also been unprecedented restrictions on foreign reporting and increased censorship of the internet, local media and blocking of access to communications. Increasing levels of censorship and self-censorship means that the scope for cultural activity has become ever more limited.
Alarmed about the widespread use of arrest, torture and even execution to silence dissent, and the negative effect this is having on cultural life.
Deeply concerned that there are currently at least 37 writers, journalists and bloggers detained or facing charges for their dissident writings and activism, including journalist and award-winning novelist Javad Mahzadeh, detained since 22 October 2009 and sentenced to four years in prison on 4 February 2010. No charges against him have been disclosed; journalist and political analyst Ahmad Zeydabadi, arrested on 13 June 2009, sentenced to 6 years in prison five years’ internal exile, and a lifetime ban on any political or journalistic activity; journalist and economist Bahman Ahmadi Amooyi, arrested on 20 June 2009 and spent 65 days in a solitary confinement cell in ward 209 of Evin prison before being sentenced to seven years and four months in prison, reduced to five years on appeal.
Expressing profound outrage at the sentencing on 28 September 2010 of the Iranian-Canadian blogger Hossien Derrakshan to 19 and a half years in prison for insulting Islamic thought and religious figures, and spreading propaganda against Iranian authorities.
Shocked and indignant by the severity of the sentence handed down in absentia to leading Canadian-Iranian journalist, writer and film-maker Maziar Bahari on 9 May 2010. Bahari was sentenced in absentia on national security charges to thirteen years and six months and an extended flogging for his coverage of the disputed presidential elections in June 2009.
Alarmed and worried that detainees are commonly held in poor conditions, without access to family, medical care and legal representation, and there are widespread reports of the use of torture against political prisoners.
Condemns the on-going practice of unfair trials held in camera, the absence of independent defense lawyers and observers, lengthy periods of pre-trial detention, and heavy prison sentences inflicted upon writers, journalists, human rights defenders and dissidents.
Deplores that defense lawyers continue to be subjected to unbearable pressures (harassment, defamation and threat), often forcing them to give up the cases of persecuted writers or other persons prosecuted for their convictions.
Troubled by the acceleration of the Iranian government´s Censorship of books and magazines. Permission to publish is increasingly curtailed and even the reprinting of already published books has been stopped. At the 23rd International Book Fair in May 2010 in Tehran, one could see clearly the new harsh measures against the publishing world. Several well-known publishers were not allowed to participate at the fair. Works by several prominent writers such as Hushang Golshiri, Mahmud Dowlatabadi and Forugh Farrokhzad did not get permission to be presented there, nor the book written by the late Ayatollah Montazeri. Books on Buddhism and yoga were among those forbidden.
Also troubled by the Iranian government´s heavy censorship of the Internet and other forms of cultural expression such as art, film, and music. Deeply concerned about the large number of writers, journalists and cultural activists from Iran’s ethnic regions sentenced for their critical reporting and peaceful activism on minority rights. They include Iranian-Kurdish journalists Adnan Hassanpour, Mohammad Sadiq Kabudvand, Ahwazi writer Yousef Azizi Banitorf and Azeri journalist Said Matinpour.
Calls for the immediate and unconditional release of all writers, journalists, human rights defenders, students and womens’ rights activists who are currently arrested in Iran in violation of Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Iran is a state party, and for the repealing of laws used to criminalise free expression.
8. Resolution on Mexico – Killings
The Assembly of Delegates of International PEN meeting at its 76th Congress in Tokyo, Japan, September 25 – October 1, 2010,
Drawing attention to the fact that since 2006, when law enforcement agencies and armed forces in Mexico launched the current offensive against criminal organizations, it is estimated that at least 21 – 26,000 victims have died, among them many journalists;
Taking into account the front-page article on September 19, 2010 in El Diario de Juarez, the largest newspaper in Ciudad Juarez, that requested guidelines on what to publish and which was addressed to the drug lords as the “de facto authorities”;
Alarmed that this state of undeclared war deprives journalists of any security to do their jobs, that freedom of expression no longer exists, that a situation prevails in which kidnapping, summary execution, hanging, torture and decapitation are words of everyday speech, and that the vast majority of these crimes go unpunished;
International PEN calls on all parties – governments, organizations and individuals – to do everything in their power to restore peace, the rule of law and the right to freedom of expression in Mexico.
9. Resolution on Mexico
The Assembly of Delegates of PEN International meeting at its 76th Congress in Tokyo, Japan, 25 September – 1 October, 2010,
Alarmed by the continued murders, disappearances, threats, harassment and assault of journalists in Mexico. Since January 2004, a total of 35 writers – 34 print journalists and one author – have been murdered in the country, while nine other print journalists have disappeared or are missing. Few if any of these crimes have been properly investigated or punished. Since January 2010 alone, eight Mexican journalists have been murdered and three have gone missing, as follows:
Killed: Hugo Alfredo OLIVERA Cartas (27), owner and editor of the daily newspaper El Día de Michoacán and reporter with the daily La Voz de Michoacán, was found in his car shot in the head in the countryside near Apatzingán, Michoacán State, on 6 July 2010 (see details of previous attack on Olivera below);Husband-and-wife journalists Juan Francisco RODRÍGUEZ Ríos (49) and María Elvira HERNÁNDEZ Galena (36) were shot dead in the internet café they owned near their home in Coyuca de Benítez, Guerrero state, on 28 June 2010. Rodríguez was the local correspondent for two daily newspapers, El Sol de Acapulco and Diario Objetivo, while Hernández edited the weekly paper Semanario Nueva Línea;Enrique VILLICAÑA Palomares, columnist for the daily newspaper La Voz de Michoacán, as well as a teacher, was kidnapped on 5 April 2010 and found dead, his throat slit, in Morelia, Michoacán state, five days later, on 10 April. He is said to have received threats which he had reported to the Michoacán state justice department in late March but the authorities failed to take any action; Evaristo PACHECO Solís, reporter for the weekly newspaper Visión Informativa, was found dead, in Guerrero state, on 12 March 2010;Jorge RÁBAGO Valdez (49), journalist for the daily newspaper La Prensa and two radio stations, died on 2 March 2010 in the border city of Reynosa, Tamaulipas State, according to some reports after being badly beaten by police;Jorge Ochoa Martínez, editor and publisher of local newspapers El Oportuno based in Chilpancingo, capital city of Guerrero State, and El Sol de la Costa based in Ayutla de los Libres on the Pacific Coast, was shot dead on 29 January 2010;Valentín VALDÉS Espinosa (29), reporter for the daily newspaper El Zócalo de Saltillo, was abducted in Saltillo, Coahuila State, on 7 January 2010. His body was found the next morning; he had reportedly been tortured and shot several times. DisappearedEvaristo ORTEGA Zárate, editor of the local newspaper Espacio, Veracruz state, has been missing since 20 April 2010. The last time he was heard from he said he had been arrested, however the police deny any knowledge of the case; Ramón ÁNGELES Zalpa of Cambio de Michoacán, Michoacán state, disappeared on 6 April 2010, after receiving anonymous phone calls;Miguel Ángel DOMÍNGUEZ Zamora of Mañana, Tamaulipas state, has been missing since 1 March 2010.
Deeply concerned about the general impunity, passivity of the legal authorities vis-à-vis the growing rate of crimes against journalists and media workers and over lack of investigation of these crimes, in spite of repeated promises from federal, state and local authorities that the crimes will be investigated, the authors will be brought to trial and future crimes against journalists and the media will be prevented;
Particularly worried about the increasing number of assaults on journalists openly committed by federal forces since December 2006;
Worried that this situation will continue and even worsen if no efficient steps are taken by the Mexican authorities at all levels to investigate the crimes already committed and to prevent further violations of journalists’ right to exercise their profession freely and without risking their lives and those of their families;
Calls on the Mexican government to take immediate measures to prevent further killings, abductions, disappearances and harassment of journalists and to protect journalists, writers and ensure their right to exercise their profession freely, as laid out in the Mexican Constitution and guaranteed under Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) as well as under Article 13 of the Inter-American Convention on Human Rights (IACHR) which have both been signed and ratified by Mexico;
Also urgently calls on the Mexican authorities to prevent the impunity of crimes against journalists, a necessary step to prevent new murders intended to silence members of the media; and immediately adopt measures designed to protect the free and safe exercise of journalism, such as the strengthening of the Special Prosecutor’s Office, the attention of the federal justice system to attacks against journalists, and the implementation of effective, prompt security measures to guarantee the life and physical integrity of journalists who have received threats.
Further reminds the Mexican government that it is the duty of the State to protect the right to life (Article 6.1 of the ICCPR) and to prevent and investigate murders and acts of aggression against journalists, punish their perpetrators and ensure that victims receive just compensation (Principle 9 of the IACHR Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression).
10. Resolution on Nepal
Deeply concerned that in spite of a commitment by the Maoist-led coalition to protect press freedom, journalists and writers continue to be targeted with apparent impunity in Nepal;
Appalled that nearly three years after the murder of Nepali freelance journalist Birendra Shah, those identified as being responsible for his death still have not been brought to justice;
Urging the authorities to take immediate action to ensure all crimes against journalists, including Birendra Shah, are vigorously investigated and those responsible brought to justice.
Reminding the Nepali authorities of their commitment to press freedom, as laid out by Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Nepal is a state party.
11. Resolution on Russia – Minority Languages
The Assembly of Delegates of International PEN, meeting at its 76th International Congress in Tokyo, Japan, 25th September- 1st October 2010,
Notes that the Finno-Ugrian peoples within Russia are in a difficult position. Many of them are in danger of extinction or becoming absorbed by the Russians. The proportion of the Finnish-Ugrian population within the different republics is as follows: Republic of Mordovia 32%, Udmurtia 30%, Mari 43%, The Komi Republic 25%, Nenetsia 9%, Hanti-Mansia 1,2%, Komi Perm 59%. All together there are c. four million Finno-Ugrian people inhabiting Russia.
Pressure is exerted on minority media. Central powers have taken over many independent media and journalists are oppressed in many different ways. According to a report by the Foundation for the Defence of Glasnost published in 2010, there is no free media left in any of the regions of Russian Federation. Only the Internet enables some independent Finno Ugrian writings.
Legislation developed since Vladimir Putin came to power in 1999 has been openly hostile to minorities. The use of the cyrillic alphabet has been legally authorized in every federal language. Russian has been declared the only official language of the country and is compulsory in all official communications. The language legislation of the republics has lost its legality when the laws of the administrative districts and republics have been harmonized with the constitutional laws of Russia.
According to the school law of 2007, schools, parents and pupils are themselves allowed to choose the language of instruction. According to the minority organisations, these legal changes have lead to a drastic decrease in minority language teaching.
The Federal Security Service of Russia (FSB) is also increasingly using laws against so-called extremism to suppress dissidents and minority activists whose only actions are to criticise the government.
Despite this, there are positive developments such as the birth of a strong literary and artistic ethnofuturistic movement in Udmurtia and the creation of Wikipedia in Erzyan. Also the first Assembly of Russian Minorities in February 2010 passed a resolution demanding the repeal of the disputed school law (2007). The Forum showed what a sensitive and important issue the preservation of the mother tongue is for the 30,000,000 non-Russian individuals in Russia.
Referring to the above, International PEN demands that the Russian government cease the repression of Finno-Ugrian and other minorities and to make secure all minority languages media outlets and their users.
12. Resolution on South Africa
The Assembly of Delegates of PEN International meeting at its 76th Congress in Tokyo, Japan 25 September – 1 October 2010,
Welcomes that freedom of expression is specifically protected in Clause 16 of South Africa’s 1996 Constitution, which guarantees the “freedom to receive or impart information or ideas”.
Is alarmed that South Africa’s parliament is currently considering a bill, titled the Protection of Information Bill. The Bill has a number of very worrying aspects. This Bill, in essence, proposes that access to information be severely curtailed in order to protect South Africa’s “national interest.”
These include the following:
1. The power to classify extends to all state entities including government departments, state-owned companies (which compete with private companies), provincial and local authorities.
2. “National security” considerations override democratic rights.
3. Key consideration in classification decisions is the “national interest.” This is very broadly defined
4. Officials can classify en-bloc, and without recording reasons for classification decisions at time of classification.
5. The Minister of State Security, whose business is secrecy, would be made arbiter of classification and declassification decisions.
6. Extremely heavy penalties of up to 25 years; prescribed minimum sentences often without the option of a fine.
7. “Hostile activity offences” replicate spying offences but without onus on the state to prove intention to benefit a foreign state, merely that offender “should have known” that breach of classified information would prejudice the state, even indirectly. Penalty up to 25 years
8. Simple possession or disclosure of classified information is criminalised for any person, not just for those on whom there is an original duty to protect classified info.
9. Simple possession or disclosure even of information not formally classified can be penalised by imprisonment of up to 15 years
10. This Bill is not synchronised with existing whistleblower legislation in the Protected Disclosures Act and public interest overrides in the Promotion of Access to Information Act. The Bill trumps the protection these Acts afford to the disclosure of crime, abuse of power, threats to public safety, etc. Possession and disclosure of classified (and potentially some unclassified) information is penalised by the same heavy penalties of up to 25 years even where the intention is to expose, for example, corruption or environmental threats.
Is disturbed that the prime targets of this legislation are journalists, but that writers are equally vulnerable.
Pointing out that transparency and the access to information are fundamental to democratic governance. The South African constitution states that ‘everyone has the right of access to any information held by the state…that is required for the exercise or protection of any rights.’
The Protection of Information Bill, flawed in multiple ways, subordinates this constitutionally enshrined transparency to a broadly and vaguely defined ‘national interest’. This includes ‘all matters relating to the advancement of the public good…the survival and security of the state and the people of South Africa…the pursuit of justice, democracy, economic growth, free trade, a stable monetary system and sound international relations.’
Particularly concerned that it will not be a judge or a panel of constitutional experts who decide what information must remain secret because it might be ‘harmful’ to the ‘national interest’. This will be decided by the heads of the organs of state and their subordinate officials who will, in turn, be advised, trained and supported by the National Intelligence Agency.
Fearing that this will result in the establishment of an Orwellian censorship system at all levels of government, municipal, regional and national. Those who breach this proposed bill will be liable for jail terms (of up to 25 years) and to punitive fines.
Considers that this proposed Bill, though likely to be rejected by the Constitutional Court of South Africa, is a direct threat to the constitutional rights of South Africans and to the duty of journalists and writers to expose corruption and abuses of power. As such this proposed legislation should be vigorously opposed.
Noting that South African PEN has joined forces with a large number of other civil society organisations to reject this Bill, and leading writers including Zakes Mda, Andre Brink and Nadine Gordimer have been outspoken in their rejection of this retrogressive legislation.
Calls on the support of all PEN centres and PEN International in opposing the Protection of Information Bill.
13. Resolution on Sri Lanka
The Assembly of Delegates of PEN International meeting at its 76th Congress in Tokyo, Japan, 25 September – 1 October, 2010,
Alarmed by the fact that Sri Lankan cartoonist and writer Prageeth EKNALIGODA disappeared in Colombo on 26 January 2010 whilst on his way home from the office and that nothing is known of his whereabouts since then;
Noting that Eknaligoda was previously abducted in August last year by police officers, who then released him within hours;
Reminding the authorities that Prageeth Eknaligoda suffers from diabetes and has a serious heart condition;
Urges the government of Sri Lanka to locate and safely return Prageeth Eknaligoda to his family;
Further alarmed that a pattern of harassment, threats and disappearances of journalists during the twenty-five year conflict between government forces and the so-called Tamil Tigers has continued after the end of the war and the re-election of President Mahinda Rajapaksa earlier this year;
Reminds the government of Sri Lanka of its commitments to protect press freedom, and urges the Sri Lankan authorities to abide by their obligations to the international treaties protecting free expression, in particular Article 19 of the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Sri Lanka is a state party. Calls upon the government of Sri Lanka to fully investigate the disappearance of Prageeth Eknaligoda and all other cases of journalists targeted solely for the legitimate practice of their professions, so that those responsible can be brought to justice, ending the widespread impunity for these crimes.
14. Resolution on Tunisia
The Assembly of Delegates of International PEN, meeting at its 76th congress in Tokyo, Japan, 25 September – 1 October, 2010,
Reiterates its concerns raised in Barcelona on 17 June 2010 regarding section 62 bis of the Criminal Code adopted on 15 June 2010, which makes new provision for criminalizing freedom of expression in Tunisia.
Calls for the repeal of this law, which equates any criticism of government policy before international institutions or foreign governments with an act of treason punishable by five to 12 years prison. This law was passed in response to advocacy by Tunisian journalists, writers and human rights defenders before European Union institutions considering the Tunisian government’s request for advanced status in its partnership with Europe.
Notes with disappointment that the considerable deterioration of freedoms in Tunisia, where journalists are in prison (Fahem Boukadous) and judicially harassed for their professional activities (Mouldi Zouabi), where independent judges are sanctioned (Kelthoum Kennou) and independent associations prevented from carrying out their daily activities.
Considers the repressive policies of the Tunisian regime to be in contravention of its commitments included in the Association Agreement with the European Union.
Calls upon the European Union, following the 27 September resumption of advanced status negotiations with Tunisia, to suspend all negotiations until this law is repealed.
15. Resolution on Turkey – Kurdish Issues
The Assembly of Delegates of PEN International meeting at its 76th Congress in Tokyo, Japan, 25 September – 1 October, 2010,
Concerned by the lack of freedom of expression in Turkey, where Kurdish writers, editors, publishers and journalists face harassment, lengthy prison terms under legislation that is under international scrutiny and torture for writing about the Kurdish regions and their people;
Troubled by the existence of numerous laws that allow for the prosecution of writers solely for their writings;
Concerned by the fate of more than 5 000 Kurdish children below the age of 18, who have been prosecuted in Turkey and nearly 3 000 children are currently imprisoned, convicted in adult courts of crimes including that of being member of illegal armed groups and parties, although they were just throwing stones on the army;
Dismayed by the imprisonment of 34 politicians on 24 December 2009, among them mayors elected by the public, whereas 23 Kurdish politicians were detained, seven of them mayors; Alarmed by the Turkish authorities’ continuous ill treatment of Kurdish woman and children in custody;
Knowing that the ongoing violation of human rights, imprisonment and killings in the Kurdish region of Turkey is due to the authorities’ approach to the Kurdish question in the country, PEN International to calls upon the Government of Turkey:
To change its approach to the Kurdish question, and seek a democratic solution which guarantees the basic rights of the Kurdish people in Turkey;
Reconsider how it handles cases of freedom of expression and to review all relevant articles of the law with a view to bringing them into accord with international human rights standards, in particular the ICCPR and the European Convention on Human Rights, to which Turkey is a state party;
Stop the arrest and prosecution of Kurdish children. If a child is arrested and tried, it should be in a juvenile court. None of these children should be tried in courts under Turkish anti-terrorism laws;
Release all political prisoners, writers, journalists and children by securing democratic rights with real constitutional reforms;
Take urgent action to improve living conditions of imprisoned woman and children in Kurdish regions of Turkey
16. Resolution on Turkey
As a country with a rich and diverse culture, Turkey deserves and needs the deepening of democracy. Writers, journalists, translators and publishers critical of those in power are still under oppression.
Some members of PEN Turkey are held in prison awaiting trial for their comments on Kurdish issues, such as Muharrem Erbey, the Kurdish writer and lawyer, or they are before the courts, such as the publisher Ragıp Zarakolu. The fairness of their trials is under question in many cases, such as that against Pinar Selek, the feminist sociologist.
Also imprisoned awaiting trial are several writers and journalists held in the ‘Ergenekon’ investigation, where there are also questions about the reasons for their detention, among them Mustafa Balbay, who should be allowed his freedom while the trial – which is likely to be lengthy – continues.
There is a growing concern that intellectuals in the opposition, especially those who favour secularism, are under threat.
Furthermore, YouTube is still banned. The infamous Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code that has been harshly criticised is still in use.
Thus, as PEN, the World Association of Writers that promotes literature and freedom of expression, we invite the present government and all the other responsible institutions of Turkey to improve the quality of democracy – specifically giving priority to the respect of freedom of expression.
17. Resolution on Venezuela
Welcomes the progress made in the investigation into the murder of Orel ZAMBRANO, editor of the weekly ABC de la Semana and columnist for the regional daily Notitarde, who was shot dead in Valencia, Carabobo state, in January 2009. On 19 May 2010, former policeman Rafael Segundo Pérez was found guilty of conspiracy charges related to Zambrano’s murder and sentenced to 25 years in prison. The investigation is ongoing.
Concerned, however, by the continuing and rising repression of writers and journalists in Venezuela. In 2009, PEN recorded 21 incidents of detention, prosecution, attacks, threats and other harassment against writers and journalists in the country, compared to 19 in 2008 and 13 in 2007. Criminal proceedings are commonly used against journalists who criticise official policy. In 2010, two journalists have suffered long periods of pre-trial detention on apparently trumped-up charges and a third has received a disproportionate criminal conviction for alleged defamation, as follows:Leocenis GARCÍA, editor of Sexto Poder magazine and journalist for the daily newspaper Reporte Diario de la Economía, was held in pre-trial detention for 26 months, from 3 May 2008 to 6 July 2010, for allegedly causing damage to property, carrying a gun without a permit and resisting arrest. It is feared that the case may in fact stem from García’s critical reporting, including on alleged corruption at the state-owned petroleum company Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA). García says he was tortured while in police custody and his lawyer has alleged a series of irregularities in the legal case against him.
Gustavo AZÓCAR, correspondent for the national daily newspaper El Universal, blogger and political talk show host, was detained for almost nine months pending trial for alleged corruption and fraud in the assignment of a 2000 advertising contract. In March 2010, he was sentenced to two and a half years in prison, but was released on parole. Azócar, who is active in Venezuela’s opposition movement and had reportedly expressed an interest in running for the National Assembly in September 2010, was barred from running for public office. Francisco “Pancho” PÉREZ, columnist for the daily newspaper El Carabobeño, was on 9 July 2010 found guilty of defamation on the basis of articles in which he stated that a local mayor had appointed members of his family to public positions, and was sentenced to three years and nine months in prison. Pérez was allowed to serve his sentence at home but was banned from working in journalism for the length of the sentence, and was fined 94,000 Venezuelan Bolivars (approx. US$21,000).
Further troubled by state control of book imports introduced in March 2008, when the Venezuelan Ministry of Commerce re-designated books as “non priority items” for importation. This and a series of new procedures making it more complicated to obtain foreign currency for imports mean that bringing books into Venezuela, which buys an estimated 85-90% from overseas, has become much more time-consuming and costly. According to PEN’s information, these measures are having a significant negative impact on the availability and affordability of books, in particular new and foreign titles, and therefore on Venezuelans’ right to read and be informed.
Alarmed by a series of recent measures introduced by the Venezuelan government, which have the effect of increasing its control of information and public debate as well as of the media and non governmental organisations (NGOs). For example:A 1 June 2010, a presidential decree created the Centre for Situational Studies of the Nation (Centro del Estudio Situacional de la Nación), which will reportedly have broad powers to limit dissemination of information that it deems confidential by both state and non state bodies. On 15 July 2010, the Supreme Court issued a binding resolution that the right to information is not absolute and anyone requesting public information will have to state why the information is required. The decision, which followed a request made by the NGO Espacio Público for details of the salaries of employees of the Comptroller General, contradicts Article 51 of the Venezuelan Constitution which guarantees citizens’ right to information.On 20 July 2010, President Hugo Chávez announced that his government was to acquire a majority stake (48.5%) in Globovisión, a privately owned television station that has a record of being very critical of Chávez’ administration. Also on 20 July 2010, the National Assembly adopted the conclusions of a report which links international funding agencies to the 2002 failed coup, including a request for the Public Prosecutor to investigate journalists and NGOs supported by these agencies. On 17 August 2010, a court ruling barred Venezuela’s press from publishing images of “violence” or “aggression” for one month after the daily newspaper El Nacional published photos of corpses piling up in a morgue in Caracas as part of a story on rising crime. The ruling was partially lifted after an international outcry. However, the ban remained in place for El Nacional and the newspaper Tal Cual, which had re-printed the photos in solidarity; both papers are critical of the Chávez administration.
Urges the government of Venezuela to:
Protect writers’ and journalists’ right to freedom of thought and expression, as guaranteed by Articles 18 and 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and Article 13 of the American Convention on Human Rights ACHR), to which Venezuela is party;
Conduct prompt, thorough and impartial investigations into attacks, threats and other harassment against writers and journalists and ensure that those responsible are brought to justice;
Refrain from bringing unwarranted criminal proceedings against writers and journalists who are critical of the government and official policy;
where prosecution goes ahead, ensure that the defendant receives a fair trial and does not receive a disproportionately heavy sentence;
Re-designate books as priority items for importation into Venezuela, and ensure that the administrative procedures relating to importing books are streamlined in order to avoid delays and escalation of costs which have a negative impact on Venezuelans’ right to read and be informed;
Review the recent measures listed above which have the effect of limiting Venezuelans’ right to access to information and a range of ideas and to participate in public debate, and which particularly impact on the work of the media and NGOs.
18. Resolution on Vietnam
The Assembly of Delegates of PEN International, meeting at its 76th International Congress in Tokyo, Japan, 25 September- 1 October 2010
Concerned that since the adoption of the resolution on Viet Nam by the Assembly of Delegates of the PEN International, meeting at Linz, Austria, in October 2009, many writers, journalists, bloggers and human rights lawyers have been condemned to heavy prison sentences (2-16 years), followed by probationary detention (1-5 years) for having exercised their right to freedom of expression. Several former prisoners have been attacked, threatened or subject to brief detention, among others: Lê Thi Công Nhân (f), Lê Thi Kim Thu (f), Hô Thi Bich Khuong (f), and Pham Hông Son;
Shocked and indignant at the fact that prisoners of opinion are deported to forced labour camps. They are held in solitary confinement or in crowded and unsanitary cells together with hostile common law detainees. They are victims of physical attacks, torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatments. They suffer from chronic diseases and lack of adequate medical care and elementary hygiene. They are denied their right to family visit and to supply of medicines for having refused to plead guilty, made a complaint or undergone a hunger strike to protest against their appalling detention conditions;
Alarmed and worried by the health status and the detention conditions of the following prisoners:
– Trân Khai Thanh Thuy (f), poet, writer and journalist, cyberdissident, member of the Union of Writers and the Club of Women Poets of Hanoi, previously served 9 months in prison in 2007. In October 2009, victim of a staged provocation and wounded in the head by aggressors, she was, however, detained for assault and battery. She had but recently recovered from advanced tuberculosis. During her 7 months pre-trial detention, she received no medical care for coronary problems, diabetic condition and low blood pressure. In the Courtroom, she claimed her innocence. Her lawyer said: ‘’Prosecutor’s accusation made of false and forged evidences’’. She was sentenced on appeal in April 2010 to 3 years and 6 months in prison and deported to a camp crowded with common law women detainees. Her health is getting worse;
– Nguyen Van Ly, priest and editor of the underground review Freedom of Opinion, sentenced in 2007 to 8 years in prison followed by 5 years in probationary detention. He previously served 15 years in prison between 1977 and 2005. He suffered from a second stroke in November 2009 which paralyzed the right half of his body. He had been then transferred to a public security police hospital for treatment and brought back to the camp. Fearing that he would die of other strokes, the Public Security transferred him, in March 2010, to Huê city. He has been placed under the local authority’s control for 12 months in order to seek medical treatment before his return to the camp;
– Nguyên Xuân Nghia, poet, novelist, journalist, member of the Hai Phong Association of writers and executive member of the banned human rights defenders network Bloc 8406, co-editor of the underground journal Fatherland, author of several poems, short stories, notes, memoirs, reports and articles. The indictment cited his 57 incriminating texts. He was sentenced to 6 years in prison followed by 3 years in probationary detention. In very poor health, he is suffering from haemorrhoids, stomach ulcers, renal calculus and rheumatic inflammations;- Truong Minh Duc, independent journalist and cyberdissident. He was sentenced to 5 years in prison followed by 3 years in probationary detention for his numerous articles on corruption and abuse of power. In January 2008, he broke his left arm. He is confined together with 60 high recidivist criminals in a camp deep in the jungle. Already limited, access to his family’s visits and supply of food and medicines (a 7 kg pack per monthly visit) become more difficult and costly. Suffering from high blood pressure and gastrointestinal diseases, he is very fragile.
Still yet, among others:
– Dang Phuc Tuê (religious name Ven. Thich Quang Dô, 82-year-old, Buddhist monk and poet, in house arrest since 2003), Nguyên Phong, Nguyên Binh Thanh, Nguyên Van Dài, Trân Quôc Hiên, Truong Quôc Huy, Pham Ba Hai, Nguyên Van Hai (Diêu Cày), Pham Thanh Nghiên (f), Vu Van Hung, Ngô Quynh, Pham Van Trôi, Nguyên Van Tuc, Trân Duc Thach, Nguyên Van Tinh, Nguyên Kim Nhan, Nguyên Manh Son, Trân Huynh Duy Thuc (16 years in prison), Lê Thang Long, Lê Công Dinh, Nguyên Tiên Trung and Trân Anh Kim;
Condemns the on-going practice of unfair trials held in camera, absence of independent defence lawyers and observers, house arrest, lengthy pre-trial detention, heavy prison sentences inflicted upon writers, journalists, bloggers and human rights lawyers;
Deplores that human rights lawyers continue to be subjected to unbearable pressures (harassment, defamation and threat), forcing them to give up the cases of persecuted writers and journalists or other persons prosecuted for their convictions;
Protests the severe censorship of media and on Internet, the destruction of hundreds of independent blogs and websites by the Public Security, the implementation of an arbitrary legislation to block access to public spaces that promote a culture of peace and human rights, identify corruption in public administration and social injustice or debate subjects of national interest;
Urges the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam to:
1. release, immediately and unconditionally, Trân Khai Thanh Thuy, Nguyên Van Ly, Nguyên Xuân Nghia, Truong Minh Duc and the above-mentioned writers, journalists, bloggers and human rights lawyers, and all other persons currently in prison or in probationary detention for the exercise of their right to freedom of expression and opinion;
2. cease all attacks, harassment, threat of arbitrary arrest or preventive detention against all persons who hold dissenting views or who call for freedom of thought, conscience and religion;
3. lift all arbitrary restrictions imposed on former prisoners of opinion, including those who have not yet served their entire probationary detention terms;
4. improve conditions in prisons and in forced labour camps, stop acts of aggression perpetrated by common law detainees, ban and punish all forms of torture and ill-treatments, allow sick prisoners of opinion to be hospitalized and receive adequate medical care as well as to facilitate their family visits;
5. abolish all censorship and lift all restrictions on freedom of expression and opinion, freedom of the press, freedom to create and to publish, the right to be informed by all means including the Internet, and freedom of association, in compliance with the Articles 19, 21 and 22 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).
19. Recommendation on change of name to PEN International
The Assembly of Delegates of International PEN, meeting at its 76th International Congress in Tokyo, Japan, 25th September – 1st October 2010,, Noting that International PEN is (i) a UK registered company with registered name ‘International PEN’ and registered company number 5683997, and (ii) a registered charity in the UK with charity name ‘International PEN’ and Registered Charity Number 1117088.
Noting that the name used by several other of the PEN Centres is ‘PEN International’ and not ‘International PEN’. This is true of all French-Speaking and Spanish-Speaking PEN Centres as well as many other Centres across the world.
Mindful of the fact that International PEN is a worldwide community of writers that spans more than 100 countries. And, as such, that it would be beneficial for the organisation to be more consistent in the use of its name, in terms of:
(i) creating a globally recognised name and message (PEN already present their name with ‘International’ after ‘PEN’ in French (International) and Spanish (Internacional); and
(ii) placing the noun before the adjective to ensure ‘PEN’ is given the most emphasis. (Amnesty is ‘Amnesty International’ not ‘International Amnesty’ for example; likewise ‘Care International’ not ‘International Care’).
Noting that International PEN cannot change its registered name to ‘PEN International’ in the UK as that name would not be accepted by the register of companies as being too similar to an existing company name (pursuant to the Company and Business Names (Miscellaneous Provisions) Regulations 2009).
Noting that any UK incorporated company may trade under a name that is not its registered name (a ‘trading name’), so long as it continues to display its registered name. And that the rules relating to similarity do not apply to trading names. Further noting that the rules relating to the names of Charities do not prohibit the use of trading names.
Mindful of the fact that the laws relating to passing off and Intellectual Property do apply to the use of trading names. And that, having looked on the trademarks register and conducted searches on the internet and Companies House for companies with similar names, Clifford Chance LLP did not find any obvious risks of any such claims reasonably arising out of the use of ‘Pen International’ as a trading name (albeit it is not possible to rule out all risk of claims of this nature being asserted).
Believing it would be beneficial for International PEN both in terms of (i) creating a globally recognised and uniform name and message, and (ii) reducing administrative burden, for International PEN to trade under PEN International.
Calls upon International PEN Congress to approve the use of ‘PEN International’ as a trading name of International PEN (international office).
20. Recommendation on Congresses
The Assembly of Delegates of PEN International meeting at its 76th Congress in Tokyo, Japan, 25 September – 1 October, 2010, Recommends that the PEN International Board and secretariat examine means to maximise and modernise the role of congresses and other meetings of PEN International, and minimise as much as possible their ecological impact.
21. Recommendation on the appointment of Auditors
The Assembly of Delegates of PEN International meeting at its 76th Congress in Tokyo, Japan, 25 September – 1 October, 2010, Considering that the Assembly is required to approve the appointment of the company auditors each year, Decides to approve the appointment of Gotham Erskine as the company auditors for the next twelve months.