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  • Thu 27 Nov 2014 16:51

    Next Thursday (4th December) a UGM will be held to discuss the following motion: Condemn Sri Lanka and support sanctions against the government for violations of human rights.

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    The UGM will take place from 1 - 2 pm in the Old Theatre, Old Building.

    Read on for a full outline of the motion, plus details on the proposer and seconder. 

    Proposer - Harish Karunalingam, LSESU Tamil Society Campaigns Officer

    Seconder - Durgesh Prabu, LSESU Tamil Society Tamil Student’s Initiative (TSI) Representative

    This Union notes:

    • That the Sri Lankan Civil War ended in May 2009 after a 26 year long military campaign by both Tamil rebel groups and the SL government
    • That Sri Lanka is one of the top “red alert” countries at risk for genocide (Genocide Prevention Project), and in 2008 was voted off the UN Human Rights Council 
    • That almost 150,000 and counting Tamil people still remain unaccounted for, almost 5 years after the end of the civil war 
    • That President Mahinda Rajapaksa, a man accused of severe allegations of orchestrating war crimes and genocide, currently sits as Chairperson-in-Office  of the Commonwealth of Nations after Sri Lanka hosted the Commonwealth Head of Government’s meeting in 2013
    • That there have been numerous reported cases of forced sterilisation of Tamil women within the North East, with “imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group” a key part of the UN General Assembly’s “Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide” definition of Genocide
    • That a resolution was adopted by the UNHRC in March 2014 calling for accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka, requesting the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein) to undertake an investigation into the “alleged serious violations and abuses of human rights and related crimes by both parties in Sri Lanka” – something which the government has refused to cooperate with, with Mr. Zeid recently accusing the govt. of using a “continuing campaign of distortion and disinformation” to obstruct the OHCHR’s impartial investigation
    • That even today many journalists and academics, both citizens of SL and foreign, are being unlawfully detained – recent example of LSE lecturer, Dr. Rajesh Venugopal, detained by Sri Lankan immigration officers and questioned by police ‘for violating his visa regulations’ by travelling to the North East (Batticaloa)  and enquiring about military presence and military reprisals 

    This Union believes:

    • That the ongoing mistreatment of Tamil civilians within the North East of Sri Lanka is representative of genocide and violations of human rights
       
    • That the SL government’s intentional repeated obstruction of the international investigation process breaks international law and should thus face sanctions and reprimands from the British Government and the United Nations
       
    • That the LSE, in accordance with their ethics code and given their presence as a world renowned academic institution, should make a statement against the actions of the SL Govt. in restricting the intellectual freedom of Tamil people and not fund nor benefit from any relations with Sri Lanka

    This Union resolves:

    • To instruct the General Secretary to issue a statement, on behalf of the Student Union, condemning the actions of the SL Govt. since the end of the civil war, both in their mistreatment of Tamil civilians within the North East and their obstruction of the ongoing international investigation by the OCHRC
       
    • To instruct the General Secretary, on behalf of the Student Union, to write a letter to the Commonwealth, encouraging them to suspend Sri Lanka and strip President Mahinda Rajapaksa of his position as Chairperson-In-Office, because of its atrocious human rights record and constant failure to abide by the organisation’s core principles
        
    • To instruct the General Secretary, on behalf of the Student Union,  to write a letter to the British government and the United Nations, calling for stronger sanctions and prosecution against the Sri Lankan government in light of ongoing allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity

    To submit a motion, or speak for or against this motion, please email su.democracy@lse.ac.uk.

    Voting on this motion will take place online at www.lsesu.com/vote from 2pm on Thursday until 5pm on Friday.

    See also:

    More info on UGMs

    Previous blogs about LSESU’s UGMs

  • Thu 27 Nov 2014 13:45

    At the crack of dawn on Saturday, 19 teams piled onto a coach, blindfolded and taken to an unidentified location to raise money for the brilliant charity, Spires.

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    Their mission? To get back to LSE as fast as possible, without spending any money.

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    This is no easy feat. To make it even more exciting, this year we set them a variety of challenges: basic, intermediate and legendary, to have a bash at whilst on their journeys home.

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    Clad in amazing costumes (Bilbo RAGgins in full beard and cloak being one of my faves) the teams took to the streets of Barry Island, Wales- home of Gavin & Stacey - to knock on the doors of strangers’ cars at petrol stations, pull over drivers with signs pleading for lifts and blag tickets onto coaches, trains and buses, in the hope of getting back to base.

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    At an impressive 3:50pm, the first team back, with mighty bravado, made it through the doors of Lincoln’s Inn, much to the surprise of RAG HQ. They had been lucky enough to sweet-talk their way onto a train headed straight to London from Cardiff, earning themselves a whopping 40 points for first place!

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    BUT, they may not be going straight for Gold just yet, Carpool Saunders and Hitchin’ Havoc earned 20 points by completing a legendary challenge: a victory lap down a high street whilst being carried by strangers! They also persuaded a coach load of passengers to do the Harlem Shake, ticking off yet another box in the challenges list. Check out RAG’s Facebook page for more photos of the teams arriving.

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    Most importantly, the teams managed to raise an INCREDIBLE, £7,000 for Spires!!!!

    They certainly set the bar high, but if you’ve been inspired by RAG Gets Lost and think you can take on an even bigger challenge, make sure to check out our next fundraising adventure, new this year (!) 

    … JAILBREAK!!!

    We’ll be posting all the details for our info session on the RAG Facebook page so make sure you give us a like! Feel free to follow us on Twitter if you’re interested too. #cheekyplug.

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    by Emannuelle Andrews, RAG VP

    See also:

    RAG on Twitter

    RAG on Facebook

    RAG Does Tough Guy 2014

  • Thu 27 Nov 2014 11:45

    Tom, your Education Officer, asked LSE’s students whether their education here has met their expectations.

    At Re-Imagining Our Education on Tuesday night, it was time to answer.

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    What was the student and staff opinion? Tom fills us in…

    On Tuesday night, students, award winning teachers and LSE staff debated education at LSE.

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    Improving teaching quality and student engagement were the main points of conversation, and every member of the discussion agreed that more student input in making the decisions that affect education was needed.

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    I’m keen to continue these events to provide that input – and focus them on more specific issues, like changes to our library and to assessment happening this year.

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    Thanks to all that came and keep an eye out for the next one! If you have any comments or suggestions - especially if you weren’t able to attend the event - drop me an email.

    Cheers,

    Tom

    See also:

    Re-Imagining Our Education - Reflections on the Initial Conversation

    Re-Imagining Our Education: 2013 (video)

    Tom Maksymiw on Twitter