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Issue 297

Senator Eggleton changes strategy on poverty emphasises inequality

LI HRC Chair: continued defence of political prisoners

Cambodias Opposition Leader at LI

DA calls for resignations after mineworkers strike massacre

Yavlinsky to High Court: Cancel the verdict on Pussy Riot

German Liberal Minister fights for same-sex adoption rights

ELDR: Moldova must continue democratic reforms

Resolutions sent out for amendments ahead of LI Congress

Senator Eggleton changes strategy on poverty emphasises inequality

Following the release of A Call for Action on Poverty', a report from the Senate sub-committee on
Cities which he Chairs, LI Treasurer SenatorArt Eggleton (Liberal Party of Canada, LI Full Member) has
been travelling around Canada speaking about the growing poverty crisis facing the nation. However,
with little attention being paid to the report in Ottawa, he has changed his strategy to focussing on the
widening issue of inequality an issue embraced by audiences more readily. I find my speeches on this
subject resonate with more peopleWhen I show people what's happening (4 per cent of Canadian
households control 67 per cent of the wealth; the nation's 100 top corporate executives make 189 times
the pay of the average worker; the middle class is rapidly disappearing), they find it shocking. It's not the
rich and the poor anymore; it's the rich and the rest. While fighting poverty remains a critical issue,
according to Senator Eggleton, moral crusades don't move peoplebut an inclusive and accessible
message does.
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LI HRC Chair: continued defence of political prisoners

Following the news of release of prominent Sudanese women rights activist Nahid Gabralla, LI VP and LI
Human Rights Committee ChairAbir Al-Sahlani MP expressed satisfaction with the efforts of both
liberals and Human Rights practitioners in successfully resolving her case. I welcome Nahid's release.
While it still remains to be seen if she will be prosecuted, I would like to congratulate both Waging
Peaceand the LI HRC for their joint lobbying efforts in securing her liberation. I encourage liberals to
continue to fight for the release of all political prisoners and human rights activists around the world as
it is only by perseverance that we can succeed. Ms. Gabralla was arrested in July, along with dozens of
other civil society and democracy activists in the wake of street protests in Khartoum, which the
Sudanese authorities feared will mirror The Arab Spring. The LI HRC has been quite vocal on the issue of
detention and prosecution of Human Rights defenders as evidenced by itswritten statement to the
UNHRC in March 2012.

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Cambodias Opposition Leader at LI

Leader of the Cambodian opposition and SRP (LI Full Member), Sam Rainsy MP, along with Tioulong
Saumuara MP visited the LI Secretariat to discuss the role the international community can play in
ensuring free, democratic elections in Cambodia. Mr. Sam emphasised that 'it would be hypocrisy to talk
about elections in 2013 if the leader of the opposition is not allowed to freely enter the country or to
contest the election due to political persecution.' He informed LI that the new merged opposition
party 'Cambodia National Rescue Party' has filed its request for registration. As a truly patriotic party it
'fully supports Cambodia's pledge to get a seat at the UN Security Council, but only as a credible
international partner, i.e. if it implements the recommendations for organising free elections'. Sam
Rainsy warned of the lack of response by the government, which could lead towards election boycott,
sounding resolute: 'I hope for dialogue. But no matter the outcome, I will return to Cambodia despite
the threats to my freedom and life. I count on the support of liberals world-wide'.

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DA calls for resignations after mineworkers strike massacre

Tim Harris MP (Democratic Alliance, LI Full Member) issued a statement to LI following news of the
deaths of 44 mineworkers at Lonmin's Marikana platinum mine in South Africa's North-West Province.
Harris explained that the DA has joined the rest of South Africa in expressing shock and outrage after
mineworkers were shot dead by police during a workers' strike last week. Democratic Alliance is now
calling for the resignations of those responsible. DA Parliamentary Leader Lindiwe Mazibuko
MP welcomed President Jacob Zuma's commitment to establish an Independent Judicial Commission of
Inquiry into the tragedy and said that it must specifically establish who authorised the use of live
ammunition on the strikers. She also called on the Minister of Police, the heads of the Trade Unions
involved and the Chief Executive Officer of Lonmin Mine to consider their positions and offer their
resignations. The shootings left 34 dead and 78 wounded, bringing the total number of dead to 44 after
ten workers had already been killed earlier last week during inter-union clashes.

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Yavlinsky to High Court: Cancel the verdict on Pussy Riot


Commenting on the two year sentence given to the Russian Pussy Riot punk group, LI 2004 Prize for
Freedom laureate and former leader ofYabloko (LI Full Member), Grigory Yavlinsky said: The political
protest by Maria Alyokhina, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Ekaterina Samutsevich has in fact very serious
grounds. It is a protest against election fraud conducted to usurp power, and against censorship in the
media, the lies and corruption, hypocrisy and injustice. The long term of imprisonment of the girls,
forcing the atmosphere of unforgiveness and vengeance, does much more harm to the Russian society
than their outrage in the temple. Yabloko has condemned the controversial trialof the three members
of the Russian band since their arrest on charges of hooliganism and religious hostility after performing
a protest song against President Vladimir Putin at Moscow's main Cathedral. Yavlinsky expressed hope
that the Russian High Court will cancel the wrong verdict and set the girls free as this will correspond
both to the interests of the country and the goals of the Church.

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German Liberal Minister fights for same-sex adoption rights

German Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger (FDP, LI Full Member) has circulated draft
legislation argued that would grant same-sex couples in civil unions many of the same rights as
heterosexual couples, including adoptive rights. Writing in a German newspaper, she said: When more
same-sex couples have children, that is wonderful. In addition to the already existing stepchild adoption
rights, this opens up the way to full adoption rights. When two people of the same sex become a couple,
adoption policy should support that. The majority of Germans seem to agree - 75% of Germans are in
favour of extending the same rights to same-sex couples that are currently enjoyed by married couples,
with only 23% against (2% no opinion). The proposed law would represent a strong effort to put same-
sex civil partnerships on near-equal footing with heterosexual marriage, and would affect some forty
aspects of life for same-sex German couples including the right to take over residential leases from
deceased partners, equality in determining the last name of adopted children, and divorce proceedings.

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ELDR: Moldova must continue democratic reforms

At an international young liberal summer school in Moldova, Sir Graham Watson MEP, President of the
European Liberal Democrats -ELDR (LI Cooperating Organisation) has spoken to participants about the
benefits of the country's reforms. Speaking to an audience made up from five central and eastern
European countries, he said: On the broader political front, Moldova must continue on its path of
reform, even if some challenges remain unresolved. In five or ten years' time things may look very
different.' The big challenges all free societies face, he said, are best faced together, which is why the EU
will continue its support for Moldova's reform process. He specifically addressed the perspectives of
Moldova's youth within the EU integration process: 182 scholarships have been awarded under the
Erasmus Mundus programme. Over 300 young Moldovans now participate in the Youth in Action
programme. Preparations are being made to join projects under the EU's Research framework
programme and we hope soon to see schools from Moldova taking part in the Comenius exchange
programme.

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Resolutions sent out for amendments ahead of LI Congress


The Liberal International Secretariat has sent out to LI members all of the resolutions (including the
World Today resolution and separate resolutions on diverse issues) as well as the draft Congress Theme.
These will be debated at the upcoming 58th Congress of Liberal International, in Abidjan from 17-21
October 2012. These draft texts of resolutions are subject to amendments, which have to be received
bymidnight UK time on 12 September. LI Bureau and Secretariat look forward to what promises to be a
lively and thought-provoking Congress. If you are planning on attending but have not yet registered, you
may do so by filling out the form which can be found online here, and you can join the Facebook group
for the event. You can also reserve accommodation, booking a room with preferential rates by filling in
the form for your hotel of choice, which can be found online,and returning this to the hotel you have
chosen. The draft programme for the Congress can also befound online.